RICHARDSON, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – At the Richardson ISD Board of Trustees meeting Monday night, the district announced plans to phase in the return of in-person instruction this school year.

Classes began entirely online on Aug. 19.

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Students in grades pre-K through sixth and in special education programs can return to school in Sept. 8 if their parents choose face-to-face instruction. Students in seventh and eighth grades can resume in-person instruction on Sept. 14. Students in grades nine through 12 can go back to the classroom on Sept. 21.

For three and a half hours Monday night, the board read comments about the school year that people had submitted. Parents, teachers, and homeowners weighed in on whether the district should give students the choice of face-to-face instruction starting on Sept. 8.

Many described the difficulties of online learning, urging the district to reopen schools.

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“This virtual learning experience is not sufficient for our children,” one person said. “I’d go as far to say it’s detrimental to their experience at all levels – social, emotional, and physical.”

Others begged the school board to consider the risks of further spreading COVID-19 if kids go back to the classroom.

“As a pediatrician, I strongly advocate to keep kids out of school,” a parent wrote. “The idea of shutting back down is much worse than waiting a little longer.”

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The Richardson ISD superintendent says the district’s culture and vision stays the same, regardless of whether students are learning at home or at school.

Caroline Vandergriff