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Central Texas school districts log into virtual classrooms on Thursday; some teachers don't feel ready

Some Central Texas teachers are preparing for school this week as schools start online learning.

AUSTIN, Texas — Leander, Pflugerville and Lago Vista ISD students will log into virtual classrooms on Thursday, but some educators said they need more time to learn virtual tools. KVUE spoke with a few Pflugerville ISD teachers and they said they don't feel ready to teach online. 

"Many teachers are in panic mode right now. It's confusing. We've been in trainings and now we're working out the technology and all of the expectations in order to be able to meet our students online in less than two days. To be honest, most teachers are not ready," said Cindy Maroquio, a PFISD math teacher for Dessau Middle School. 

"I'm incredibly overwhelmed. I could cry. I have cried. I have seen other teachers cry," said Franchesca Mejia, a PfISD music teacher for John B. Connally High School. "I can't emphasize enough the amount of tasks that we're being asked to do while still, again, learning how to use these platforms, learning how to use the technology."

RELATED: In latest guidelines, Austin ISD says students without technology can remain on campus at start of year

"It doesn't feel right and it's very different, but we all just have to embrace it and make the best of what we have. We're going to do the best we can with what we have, where we are. Stay safe and we're going to help kids grow and learn," said Maroquio.

"They're great resources, but I don't have the time to fully invest in learning all of it while at the same time ensuring have I have all of my checkboxes for my campus expectations," said Mejia.

Pflugerville ISD is one of the many schools requesting four more weeks of virtual learning from the state. Mejia and Maroquio said they are looking forward to meeting students and trying their best. 

"It's having us stop, look at how we teach, what our best practices are. How can we take what we do in the classroom and put it into a virtual classroom for our students?" said August Plock, a PfISD high school social studies teacher and the president of Pflugerville Educators Association. 

"We may fight and fight and fight against it, but school starts on Thursday and we have to look at each other and look to each other for that help," said Mejia.

"We are all heroes, and just remember, students are the most important part. And it's going to be OK. It's not going to be perfect, but we're going to work through it and it's going to be OK," said Maroquio. 

RELATED: More than 150 school employees have tested positive for COVID-19 in Central Texas

PfISD created the Return to Learn webpage to put all the district information regarding re-entry this fall. Mejia said she appreciates the school district's superintendent recognizes the beginning of the school year will be an adjustment. 

"I would have to say teachers are going to have to step out of the defeated mindset. It's so easy as a teacher to feel defeated and 'everything's so hard and I can't do it.' Like I mentioned earlier, I want to cry all the time right now. It's really hard. But when I can step out and find these actionable steps, I'm suddenly not as overwhelmed," said Mejia.

"Get plenty of rest. Take computer breaks. Go outside and breathe some fresh air and, you know, stay in touch with your coworkers and lean on them to help you," said Maroquio.