COVID-19 Cases, Absences Cause Richardson ISD School to Move Learning Online

Richardson ISD said for the next 10 days students at Brentfield Elementary would learn remotely due to COVID-19 cases and absences

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On the Friday before Labor Day weekend, the Richardson ISD school board held an emergency meeting to discuss the rising COVID-19 cases and how to mitigate them.

They unanimously voted to continue indoor masking requirements until at least Oct. 4.

In the process of coming up with solutions to mitigate the spread, it had been decided a day before that one school would shut its door and transition to virtual learning after Labor Day due to increased cases.

Brentfield Elementary School students will start virtual learning on Tuesday. It will continue for 10 days.

"Another reason for the calling of an emergency meeting was to update the board regarding the difficult decision that we made yesterday to shift Brentfield Elementary to virtual instruction for 10 days due to an increase in COVID-19 positive cases," Richardson ISD Superintendent Jeannie Stone said in a YouTube video posted Sept. 3.

Since the start of the school year, Brentfield Elementary has reported 41 positive cases, including 29 in the past 13 days.

District leaders said they called Dallas County health officials to report concerns last week regarding a sudden rise in cases among Brentfield students in second, fifth and sixth grades.

"We're starting to see the numbers from the schools increase, several classrooms and even schools have had to shut down because of that transmission and the number of absences," Dallas County Health and Human Services Director Dr. Philip Huang said.

The district, in consultation with health experts, determined its mitigation strategies were not stopping the spread, which led to temporarily closing Brentfield.

"It wasn't a surprise given how quickly the numbers have been rising, I've been keeping an eye on it," Brentfield Elementary parent Jenny McGlothlin said.

She said her 8-year-old daughter, Sydney, was prepared to learn remotely for the next 10 days.

"My daughter was in virtual school through March of last year, so we've done this, we know the drill, we know what to do," McGlothlin said.

The mother of three said while her two older sons, who are also in the district, are vaccinated, her daughter is not yet eligible.

While she and other parents want their kids to be in school, she said she supports and understands the district's stance.

"We all want our kids in school, but we also want to keep them safe," McGlothlin said. "Shutting down a school is something that nobody wants and we want our kids in person, but we have to mitigate the spread."

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