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Posted on: July 29, 2020

Only in-person students eligible

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Students in the remote learning model will not be allowed to participate in extracurricular activities at Decatur ISD.

Decatur ISD trustees voted 4-3 for a policy that will prohibit the remote learners from participating in any extracurricular activities during its meeting Monday that was closed to the public and streamed online.

Trustees Thomas Houchin, Rex Hoskins, Chris Lowery and Marsha Hafer voted for the policy. Houchin said with “all the unknowns” this was the correct decision.

“You’re going to have kids part of a team not participating in 100 percent of practices that other people are doing,” Houchin said.

Superintendent Joseph Coburn and trustees lamented having to make the decision “all or nothing” with concern to eligibility for extracurricular activities.

“Everyone agreed it’s a bad situation that the TEA has dealt us,” said School Board President Charlie Tibbels, who voted against the policy. “There’s not a good answer either way. If Decatur was able to develop its own policy with different options, it would be different.”

Coburn recommended not passing the policy, citing input he received from a parent of a choir student that is going to have to do distance learning due to a parent’s medical condition. That student, along with band members and UIL academics participants who could have participated in virtual contests, will now be ineligible. At-home learners will also not be allowed to take part in National Honor Society and FFA.

“I can’t stress enough that I hate that our board was forced to make this vote. None of the seven felt good about having to make this decision. They did the best they could and voted with the community in mind.”

Tibbels reminded the board after the vote, “we’re not just talking about athletes.”

At-home learners will be ineligible for participation in any practice, performance or activity for the grading period they are utilizing remote instruction. They will be eligible upon returning to on-campus learning.

In the survey of parents, Coburn said about 25 percent or 450 students have indicated they will utilize distance learning.

Coburn expressed some concern about the district losing some students due to the rule.

“I’m worried we may lose some ADA. Everyone understands the UIL rules for athletics, but those are not the same for band and academics,” Coburn said. “I fear we may lose some of those kids.”

View original Wise County Messenger Article

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