By Nicole Nielsen
KELLER, TX (KTVT) — As many school districts around North Texas break records for COVID-19 case count numbers, so do the numbers of parents looking for alternative school options.
“Last year, we were virtual the first half of the year because I thought that was safest and when I look back at how much safer it was then…I think ‘this is a horrible mistake!’” said Marti Shavor, a Keller ISD parent.
Keller ISD’s COVID-19 dashboard on Wednesday, Sept. 8, showed nearly 1,000 active cases.
Though the number is self-reported, leaving parents fearing the data could be inaccurate with numbers even higher.
“So you can understand our anxiety right now, and how much we are concerned,” said Priyanka Patel, a KISD parent.
KISD is not requiring masks and says they don’t plan to discuss the option at any upcoming school board meeting.
“It’s just frustrating. This year, dealing with delta, we should be doing more. Delta is more contagious,” Shavor said.
On Friday the Texas Education Agency reported at least 55 school districts in Texas had one or more of their schools closed due to COVID-19 since the beginning of the school year.
Fast forward to Wednesday, and 14 more school districts have been added, now 70 in total.
It’s the reason Tim Lambert, the President of the Texas Home School Coalition, believes more parents are turning to other options.
“Basically a lot of people are saying we would never have homeschooled except for all these uncertainties,” Lambert said.
Across the state, interest in homeschooling is starting to peak.
According to census bureau data, at the end of last school year only 4.5% of Texas students were homeschooled.
Last fall, that number rose to 12.3%.
Now, the Texas Home School Coalition is estimating this fall, a record 20% of students may be homeschooled.
“This is unprecedented,” Lambert said.
They say inquiries about homeschooling have tripled since last summer and many of those colors are coming from the most populated parts of the state, including in North Texas.
“There’s no question that homeschooling is here to stay and those trend lines are parabolic,” Lambert said.
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