Monday is a big day for Duncanville ISD.
The district is bringing all students back to class fully in-person, with no virtual options this year.
“We’ve embraced our theme for this year which is Unstoppable Mindset, Unstoppable Excellence," said Superintendent Dr. Marc Smith. "It’s a rallying cry for our staff and students as we prepare our minds to have a awesome school year. It’s been a very challenging last 15 months or so."
According to district leaders, the learning and social and emotional needs of students are best served in person. They also say this will help take the burden off teachers who have been balancing both in-person and virtual classrooms for the past year and a half.
The latest news from around North Texas.
“We need them in the classroom so that we can provide that one on one instruction that they’ve not had for the last year and a half," said Smith. "We have robust tutoring programs that we'll be launching this year to try to catch our students up but we also have many of our students in summer school. We had an extended summer school. So that we can get them prepared for the school year."
Some students say they needed to come back to campus to stay focused.
“I couldn’t do virtual. It was too hard for me," said Jayden Granado, a senior at Duncanville High School. “When you do virtual, you go at your own pace. So if you want to leave you can do whatever you want. At school, you got to do your work. So that’s why I came to school."
Others are anxious about returning to campus and have plans to stay masked up.
“It feels revealing because we’re out in the open again with people surrounding us and we haven’t had that in over a year and a half," said DHS senior Jessica Munoz.
As a thank you for their hard work, full-time district employees will actually be getting a $2,500 one-time payout this November. This includes teachers and staff like bus drivers, food service and custodians.
“That was really key for us. We know they’ve been through so much in the last year and a half. We wanted to show them how much we appreciate them," said Smith.
Those employees will be busy again this year, keeping up with the safety protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The district has implemented a "Safe Return to In-Person Instruction & Continuity Plan” which includes the following safety measures on campuses throughout the district:
- Students and staff members wear are encouraged to wear face coverings at school and on the bus. It is not a requirement but will be recommended
- Temperatures will be checked routinely based on campus/facility protocols
- Desks spaced out 3 feet when possible to allow for social distancing or desk/face shield made available
- Efforts must be made by campuses and student organizations to socially distance large groups of students and stakeholders in assemblies, common area, practices, etc.
- Facilities will be e-misted nightly with sanitizing spray
- Classrooms will be equipped with handheld e-misters and sanitizing spray for sanitation during the day
- Students will be required to routinely use hand sanitizer and wash hands throughout the school day
- Laptops and devices will be sanitized regularly
- School buses will be cleaned and sanitized daily and equipped with hand sanitizer
When it comes to COVID-19 cases, the district states that campuses will continue to monitor for COVID-19 symptoms through the campus clinics and school nurses.
Students will not be required to complete the daily screener but anyone with symptoms is asked not to attend school.
“I haven’t been around a bunch of kids in like a year so it is kind of, I feel nervous," said DHS senior Cindy Chavez.
All students with symptoms or exposure will be tracked and followed up with by the campus nurse. Nurses will be required to maintain a daily health log to track symptoms.
You can access Duncanville ISD’s COVID-19 dashboard for the latest information.
Additionally, healthy meals for students will be offered every day to students at no cost due to a USDA guidance for this school year only.
The last day of school for the 2021-2022 school year for Duncanville ISD will be May 25.