School districts in Denton County should hold classes online until after Labor Day due to "high community transmission" of COVID-19, public health officials say.
Instead of requiring to hold class online until a certain date, Denton County Public Health instead opted Monday to recommend delaying in-person instruction. Individual school boards will have the option to start in-person if they feel it is safe.
Dallas County Health and Human Services issued an order for districts to delay in-person instruction until after Labor Day, while in Tarrant County, officials ordered school online until at least Sept. 28.
Full coverage of the COVID-19 outbreak and how it impacts you
Denton County Public Health made four recommendations to districts Monday.
- Delay face-to-face instruction until September 8 with exceptions.
- On-site virtual instruction activities by administrators, teachers and staff school-sponsored events/activities such as UIL sports, bands, choirs, competitions and similar events may be conducted outdoors with the use of masks and physical distancing.
- Self-contained special education instruction may occur when necessary and in accordance with TEA guidelines, as feasible.
- Schools should conduct virtual, remote, or distance learning activities, in compliance with their approved start dates, prior to Tuesday, Sept. 8 to meet TEA requirements.
- School administrators, teachers, and staff may return to school campuses to provide virtual learning instructional activities, provide food distribution including free and reduced lunch services and to perform administrative duties, as consistent with TEA guidelines.
- Schools should create, maintain, and provide a safety protocol/plan for resuming in-person instruction on or after Tuesday, Sept. 8 to the school boards and disseminate the plan to parents and stakeholders two weeks prior to re-opening campuses, per ISD approved calendars.
"We remain in continued communication with superintendents throughout Denton County as we navigate this unprecedented time due to COVID-19," Denton County Public Health Director Dr. Matt Richardson said. "These recommendations are due to growing case counts, growing positivity rates, and the likely disease transmission that occurs days before symptoms occur. We take these and other factors into consideration when making this recommendation."