SAN ANTONIO — With COVID cases on the rise all across the state of Texas, some schools are having to close in order to quarantine. Closures and virus spread among students in many schools are having an unexpected impact at a San Antonio academy. Parents are rushing to enroll their kids in Promesa Academy.
Ambika Dani is on her feet a lot, going from class to class making sure a hectic school year runs smoothly.
“There was no doubt that cases were on the rise in San Antonio. Pediatric hospitals were getting full,” Dani said.
As the superintendent and founder of Promesa Academy, Dani and her team made a last-minute decision to offer virtual learning again this year.
“We sat down the Friday before school started and right before that Friday, we had a positive COVID case during our meet the teacher night. If that was any indication of the year to come, I knew parents would be even more concerned that we were likely to have positive cases the first week of school, and sure enough we did,” said Dani.
The school is kindergarten through third grade, with about 300 students enrolled. That number continues to grow because Promesa Academy offers what many other schools don’t right now: the option to learn from home.
“Right now, we have about 70-80 students that are participating in virtual instruction. A significant number of those actually came over the first eight days of school because I think a lot of families are looking for this option and because a lot of school districts weren’t offering it, my front office has fielded call after call about our virtual learning program,” said Dani.
Shawna Thissen and her husband transformed their extra bedroom into a classroom to give their two kids the school experience at home.
“We put on uniforms and we kind of get ready as if the day has started. And there’s our first alarm for music,” said Shawna Thissen.
Thissen chose the virtual route because she’s more susceptible to the virus.
“My son has asthma and I’m high risk because 10 years ago, I had lymphoma so I had cancer treatment. So through all the cancer treatments that I had, I’m not left with full lung capacity. With reduced lung capacity, coronavirus is a bit of a problem,” said Thissen.
She is so grateful to have the option to do virtual learning. Although she admits, you’ve got to be organized to be successful.
“I keep their schedules up here so I can kind of see. So it’s 10:20 a.m., she’s almost done with science, then she gets a break,” said Thissen.
This is the reality for now.
It’s something the mom of two hopes is a temporary reality.
“Our goal, our hope is to return to school as soon as possible. For us, that means either there’s a vaccine for the kids or that the numbers go down,” said Thissen.
Only time will tell.
Promesa Academy only has funding for virtual learning through Sept. 20. It’s still up in the air what will happen after that.