Dallas Independent School District
supt hinojosa

Dallas district will have only virtual instruction for the first month of classes

Aug. 21, 2020
Health officials say in-person classes would be too risky while the coronavirus pandemic continues

As the coronavirus pandemic continues, the Dallas school district has decided that it will offer virtual instruction only for at least the first month of the 2020-21 school year.

The Dallas Morning News reports that the district's decision came after Dallas County’s School Public Health and Education Committee said it had “concluded that at the current high level of spread of infection within the Dallas County area, we recommend schools offer virtual learning only at this time.”

“It is certain that by returning to in-person learning, the rates of transmission of the virus will increase,” the county’s new guidance says. “In this sense, a return to in-person learning is a large-scale natural experiment conducted nationally with millions of students. The results of this experiment are as yet unknown, but the inherent risks appear formidable given the current positivity index in Dallas County.”

School Superintendent Michael Hinojosa announced the district's revised instruction plan a little more than two weeks before the first day of classes were to begin.

Hinojosa’s decision came the same day state officials announced that they would create a new tracking system to monitor and report Covid-19 cases at public schools in Texas, as well as release data about the number of cases among children and employees at licensed child care facilities, school-age programs and before- or after-school programs.

Recent guidance by the Texas Education Agency allowed schools to delay in-person instruction for as long as eight weeks before in-person instruction must be offered to any student and family that requested it.

Hinojosa says he is unwilling to delay in-person classes until early 2021, despite the fact that some of the nation’s largest school districts have already made the call to only offer virtual classes in the fall semester.

He says he doesn’t want to give up hope on having Dallas students return before the new year.

Other Dallas area districts—Frisco, Richardson and Garland for example—have already begun the school year with virtual classes. Those districts planned to offer optional in-person classes starting Sept. 8, and as of Thursday afternoon they had not altered those plans based on the county’s new guidance.

About the Author

Mike Kennedy | Senior Editor

Mike Kennedy, senior editor, has written for AS&U on a wide range of educational issues since 1999.

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