Special to The Dallas Examiner
Since schools began learning from home in March, there have been questions as to when and how school will reopen. With school originally scheduled to being next month, the first definitive announcement was held July 16. Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins announced an order that schools could open only for online learning, with no face-to-face classes, due to the continued high community spread of COVID-19. Afterward, Superintendent Michael Hinojosa called a July 23 meeting with the Dallas Independent School District’s Board of Trustees to discuss proposed school schedule changes.
The meeting began with calls from the community, primarily parents and teachers that were concerned about those attending school in-person contracting the virus. With the Dallas County Health and Human Services reporting that over 1,450 children under age 18 tested positive this month, while school is still out, many were concerned that the number of infected children will increase drastically during in-person classes. Some callers reminded the board that many teachers and some students – though not necessarily disabled – many have underlying conditions that could make contracting COVID more dangerous. Other concerns included asymptomatic and presymptomatic children carrying the virus back home to family members.
During the next portion of the meeting, trustees heard from and discussed the findings of various experts. After hours of discussions, members of the board approved several changes to the 2020-21 school year calendar.
The approved changes are as follows:
- The first day of school moves from Aug. 17 to Sept. 8.
- The last day of school moves from May 27, 2021, to June 18, 2021.
- Previously planned holidays in October are removed due to the cancellation of the State Fair.
- Election Day on Nov. 3 has been added as a school holiday.
- Grading periods are increased from 6-week to 9-week periods.