The largest school district in Texas, and the seventh largest in the U.S., has the difficult task of starting the first day of the new academic year virtually for 209,772 students on Tuesday, Sept. 8.

While the way students learn has transitioned from in-person to online because of the COVID-19 pandemic, some things like the quality of education they need to succeed can’t change.

HISD says all teachers will still follow curriculums mandated by the state, but not all students currently have access to the technology needed to learn from home.

“If a particular school still needs 500 devices, and we only have 100 we can deploy, that school is being opened as a learning center,” said HISD Interim Superintendent Dr. Grenita Lathan. “Those students that are showing in the system that still do not have a device will be [invited] to attend the learning center until their device arrives.”

Dr. Lathan outlined how the district is stepping up to keep students safe amidst the coronavirus outbreak, and how they’re working to keep kids from falling behind.

“I think we will revisit the school day and I’m hoping our state officials and elected officials will revisit what the time looks like for the school day,” she said. “So, do we need eight hours? Do we need 10? I always believe we need more time, especially when students are behind, and what should the school calendar look like that is not a challenge. This pandemic has challenged us all and will continue to challenge us to think differently.”