Catholic Schools in Dallas Diocese Release New Requirements for Fall Semester

The Diocese of Dallas released a list of new requirements this week, and they aren't sitting well with some parents

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If, and when, schools reopen in the fall, it'll no doubt be different for everyone.

This week, the Diocese of Dallas issued its guidelines for the next school year.

Some parents have strong opinions about them.

“This is way too premature,” said Amy Wolf, a parent of two daughters at Prince of Peace Catholic School in Plano.

“We love the teachers,” said Jennifer Carl, a mother of two children at Prince of Peace Catholic School in Plano.

Both said they were surprised Tuesday when they read requirements for next school year issued by the Diocese of Dallas Catholic Schools Office.

“I think the schools put this out to give parents some sort of relief but really what it did was cause a little bit of chaos,” Carl said.

A letter to parents said the new requirements are based on guidance from three different agencies: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Texas Education Agency and the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops Education Department.

Included in the requirements:

  • All students and faculty members will be screened daily for signs of illness;
  • Students and faculty members will be required to stay home for longer periods of time following an illness;
  • Visitors or volunteers will not be allowed on campuses;
  • Face coverings will be required for all employees;
  • Face coverings will be required for age-appropriate student populations;
  • Interactions and movement of students within the campus will be limited to better control contact; and finally,
  • We will be aggressive in our decisions to move to remote learning in the case that COVID-19 is detected within a community.

“I just don't know how anybody would think this is okay,” Wolf said.

The letter said the new rules "will not be less restrictive...  but maybe more restrictive based on the conditions present at the beginning of August."

“I think that, looking at those and saying, at minimum this is what we're going to do but we might be more strict than this is a very bold statement,” Carl said.

The diocese said it's received positive feedback from parents.

In a statement Superintendent Dr. Matt Vereecke said:

“The safety of our students, faculty and staff is always our highest and most sacred responsibility but is especially so during these difficult times. We are guided in these efforts by the expertise of the professionals at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Texas Education Agency, and the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops Education Department.
The guidelines and best practices are evolving so reaction now is premature. But rest assured all decisions will be made based on safety first for our students, faculty and staff.”

The diocese has 36 schools across North Texas.

Safety measures may vary from campus to campus, a representative said.

The governor will have the ultimate say on schools reopening.

Wolf and Carl said they hope whatever decisions are made happen with faith in mind, not fear.

*Map locations are approximate, central locations for the city and are not meant to indicate where actual infected people live.

**County totals below include all 32 North Texas counties, not just Collin, Dallas, Denton and Tarrant.

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