Dallas ISD ‘Unlikely' to Return to Classrooms, Pushes to Finish Lessons at Home

Final decision on the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year has yet to be finalized

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Dallas Independent School District Superintendent Michael Hinojosa says he is not ready to say students officially won't return to schools this school year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but as he has told NBC 5 repeatedly, he thinks it's very unlikely.

"We have not hit the peak yet and, of course, we're further behind than some of these other states. So, to me, the likelihood that we'll have regular school this school year is very doubtful. It's very doubtful," Hinojosa said Monday. "That's why we're making contingency plans. We've already canceled just about everything in April, that we know of, and then [for] May, we're going to be making those decisions in the next couple of weeks. It looks very unlikely that we'll come back to school this school year."

Hinojosa added that there are 11 other states that have already canceled school for the remainder of the year.

The district released Monday a list of school where someone has tested positive for COVID-19. A student tested positive at J.L. Long Middle School, Emmett J. Conrad Middle School and Seagoville High School.

A staff member tested positive at Victor H. Hecter Elementary School, San Jacinto Elementary School, Harold Wendell Lang Sr. Middle School, W.H. Adamson High School, Gabe P. Allen Charter School and K.B. Polk Center for Academically Talented & Gifted.

The employee at Lang Middle School died after contracting coronavirus, according to Dallas ISD.

Dallas Independent School District Superintendent Michael Hinojosa talks about the district’s plan to keep students learning and the district on track amid the COVID-19 pandemic, April 6, 2020.

Hinojosa said the district has distributed 13,000 hot spots to students who didn't have internet access, and have already ordered 15,000 more, but it's still not enough for all students to get online.

The district is also still working to come up with a plan for grading students work during the work for home period. Hinojosa said he's worried about the impact moving to a pass/fail grade will have on seniors' ability to enter college and play athletics on the college level.

Learning in DISD is varying significantly from class to class, where some teachers are lecturing via video conferencing, and others are just checking in with phone calls.

"We’re going to have variety and variability because this initiative is so big and so hard right now," said Hinojosa.

Hinojosa said the district is working on several contingency plans for families in need and to figure out student eligibility going into the 2020-2021 school year.

*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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