After a long and at times, contentious meeting that lasted more than seven hours, the Arlington ISD board of trustees have made a decision on when to start in-person classes.
Just after 1 a.m. on Friday, the board ultimately voted 5 to 2 to set the start of in-person instruction to Sept. 28. The meeting was conducted virtually.
The board listened to pleas by the Tarrant County Health Director, who warned of a potential spike over Labor Day. The board also cited a need for more transition time to in-person learning.
The board said they decided to follow science and medicine in making their decision.
That Sept. 28 date was the original date suggested by Tarrant County before the attorney general said schools don't have to listen to their local health departments in making decisions regarding school start dates.
In the end, the board said they still wanted to listen to their experts.
But the decision was not welcomed by all board members.
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"We're trending down right now and the health director can come back and shut us down if there's an outbreak,” said Bowie Hogg, Arlington ISD Board vice president. “I just think we're making a grave error for a lot of things that happen in this district."
"I do understand the desire to get students back to class and pick a day to move on, but I don't agree at all with, we should do that because that's what everyone else is doing,” said Justin Chapa, Arlington ISD Board member. “Because we are, the average student in this district and their family is just not similarly situated to other districts. The districts we are most similar to are taking the same approach that we are so far, which is to be cautious."
The board also approved a hybrid learning plan for high school students, where they will spend part of the week in school and part of the week at home.
However, the board still needs a waiver from Texas Education Agency to complete that plan.
Also last night, Everman ISD voted to extend virtual learning until Oct. 13.
The district said staff and parent surveys as well as COVID-19 case information as their reason for the decision.