DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Dallas ISD’s Board of Trustees voted Thursday night to move the first day of school to September 8.

“We have more time to control our own destiny should this pandemic get worse,” said Dallas ISD Superintendent Michael Hinojosa shortly after the vote.

As a result of the later start, school year will end on June 18.

Election Day is now also a school holiday, and school grading periods will stretch nine weeks long instead of six.

Dallas ISD’s Chief of School Leadership told trustees the district was requesting the later start date to allow more time to prepare for virtual learning.

“I’m not comfortable right now with August 17th” she said of the previously scheduled start date.

Elizalde said the goal was not to replicate the experience of the previous school year, when the district abruptly moved online, but to create a smoother, more effective virtual learning experience.

“This is not a repeat of what we did the last six weeks of the school year. This is really honing in on how to do true distance learning.”

The later start date, paired with up to eight weeks of online-only instruction allowed by current TEA guidelines, could keep kids out of classrooms through November.

Thursday’s meeting began with input from dozens of teachers expressing fear reopening schools could put them, their families, and their students in danger.

“I’ve lived the past few weeks vacillating between terror and anxiety. I have multiple underlying health conditions that put me at risk for severe illness and possibly death,” said one teacher.

Alliance AFT, a union representing about 3,500 teachers, told administrators it didn’t want see in-school learning resume until 2021.