RICHARDSON, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – Richardson ISD’s superintendent announced Monday, August 9, that until a COVID-19 vaccine is widely available for children under 12, RISD is temporarily offering a Virtual Classroom Option for elementary students in grades kindergarten through 6.

“We know that the resurgence of COVID in our community has many of you very concerned for your students who are not yet eligible to receive the vaccine,” Superintendent Dr. Jeannie Stone said in a recorded video message. “You have shared you do not feel you have a safe option for your child’s education. We hear you.”

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RISD outlined key dates in a news release, explaining the window for elementary parents to select the virtual classroom option will open at noon on Tuesday, Aug. 10, and close at noon on Friday, Aug. 13.

Students in the virtual classroom option will begin school on Monday, Aug. 23.

In-person students will still begin school as planned on Tuesday, Aug. 17.

Parents can learn more about the Virtual Classroom Option here.

Masks are optional but strongly encouraged for students and staff, the school district said.

RISD will continue to follow state law and requirements and also encourage everyone inside schools to wear a mask.

The Texas Department of State Health Services updated its requirements, and RISD has updated The Blueprint to reflect the new requirements.

Any RISD student or staff member who tests positive for COVID-19 cannot come to work or school for 10 days, per the state’s Department of Health Services.

RISD said it will will continue to contact trace and notify close contacts of positive COVID-19 cases.

The Texas Education Agency determined that students or staff who are identified as a close contact will not be sent home or quarantined from school or work.

Parents may choose whether a student identified as a close contact and who is not symptomatic will be excluded from school to quarantine.

RISD will provide a weekly update of positive COVID-19 cases by campus or building.

RISD encourages all adults to wear a mask in any elementary school or when in close contact with children under 12 years old. Staff