TYLER, Texas — Many schools across East Texas have announced plans to end virtual learning, including the biggest district in the region, Tyler ISD.
Ramiyah Cain, a junior at Tyler Legacy High School, created a petition to keep online learning a day after TISD shared students need to return to school by November 2.
"I live with my grandma and my cousin and my mom and her daughter, who is going to school too," Cain said. "I don't want to go to school and bring home the virus and maybe infect one of them."
Just under 700 people have signed the petition as of 6 p.m. Friday.
In a letter, TISD explained plans to bring students back to class because of the burden on teachers, and roughly 60% of students are failing at least one class.
However, 14 students signed and sent an additional letter to the administration asking to keep virtual learning as an option.
They hope the school takes notice and believes online learning can be successful if changes are made.
"I think the reason why most of us are failing, is we're not really held accountable for our work," Varun Verma, a sophomore at Tyler Legacy High School, said.
"I get they want everyone to pass," Cain said. "But I also get that maybe the reason why students are failing is because of teachers not having proper training or technical issues."
TISD has provided three alternative options such as transfer to a different school, enroll in an online school, or withdraw and home-school.
Kawsar Yasin, a junior at Tyler Legacy, says she had a meeting with her principal Friday morning and says that another option is available if you can provide a doctor's note.
"Any doctor [from a medical doctor or osteopathic doctor], really is able to sign it," Yasin said. "As long as you feel the need and basically you feel endangered to go back to school."
Tyler ISD Superintendent Marty Crawford says there was never any intention to completely eliminate virtual learning as there are times it will be needed.
"Probably going to have those that have a medical needed home and underlying health condition," Crawford said. "We're also going to still have students and staff come down with this virus. We're going to adjust as needed."
Of the roughly 18,000 students in the district, just under 15,000 have already returned to in-person instruction.