ARLINGTON, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – Many North Texas students will be starting the school year where they ended the last one: from home.
Public health authorities in Tarrant County, along with the cities of Arlington and Burleson, signed a joint control order Tuesday to keep all schools closed for the first six weeks of the year.
“I think it’s a responsible way of moving forward,” said Arlington ISD Superintendent Marcelo Cavazos. “Now I understand that doesn’t meet the needs of everyone, and not everyone is pleased with that order, because many people wanted face-to-face instruction. I’ve said often that face-to-face instruction we know is the best. Students learn best when they’re in front of and with teachers. That’s not the question. The question is, ‘When is that possible? When is that safe?'”
Dr. Cavazos said the decision to postpone face-to-face instruction until the end of September came from the advice of health authorities.
“So that the effect of Labor Day can be truly measured and assessed during that time period,” he said.
He promised rigorous online instruction, with grades, attendance, and social and emotional learning embedded. Neighboring Fort Worth will also begin remotely on August 17.
Students will have school for at least four hour a day. Then they’ll have a choice of face-to-face instruction or remote.
Masks will be required throughout the day, including on school buses, and hand washing procedures will be taught in every classroom.
Garland ISD will have remote learning from August 10 to September 7.
Then families can choose face-to-face instruction or remote. Once they return, all students will receive one, cleanable face covering and face shield. Weekly curbside meal pickups will be available during the back-to-school transition.
Dallas ISD has proposed starting school late – on September 8 – and ending the year in mid-June. They’re also discussing daily temperature checks for students and staff, face shields, plastic barriers in class and during lunch, and hand washing breaks throughout the day.
As for Arlington, Dr. Cavazos says he hopes that when they return to the brick-and-mortar classroom, it’s for good.
“The decision is one that we hope will allow us to open at some point and sustain that opening because we’re able to implement proper protocols,” he said.