School districts across North Texas are scrambling again after Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton issued an opinion saying local health departments can't order schools to delay opening due to the pandemic, something many districts have done because local health departments said it is not yet safe for students to return to class.
Now, school districts like Argyle, Eagle Mountain-Saginaw, Keller and Sunnyvale are changing their plans again.
Local districts have had to consider what the governor, health departments, the TEA and parents want to see this school year in the middle of a pandemic.
It's a game of ping-pong that has so many frustrated with what to do next.
“We've got model A, we've got model B, but at some point, we've got to decide what path we're going to go forward,” said Sunnyvale ISD Superintendent Doug Williams.
Health orders in Dallas County said schools should stay online until Sept. 8, and in Tarrant County, until Sept. 28.
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Paxton's guidance suggests the orders are illegal. Williams said school districts need clear direction.
“It's a little bit of a political tug-of-war in my opinion, and we're kind of the rope so-to-speak,” said Williams.
As a result of Paxton's guidance, the Argyle and Eagle Mountain-Saginaw school districts announced Tuesday they will offer classes in-person and online next month.
Keller ISD also announced that classes with start both virtually and in-person on Aug. 19. The final decision is up to the Board of Trustees. A special meeting will be held on Monday, Aug. 3, to discuss the change.
Meanwhile, in McKinney, parents rallied Tuesday outside district offices asking administrators to reconsider reopening.
Serena Ashcroft has three kids in the district.
“We cannot deal in ‘what if, what if, what if, what if,’ we have to deal in reality that our kids are being affected by this in a very negative way,” said Ashcroft.
McKinney is one of many districts that originally planned for in-person and virtual learning to start the school year.
Earlier this month, it announced its offering virtual classes only for the first three weeks.
“The majority of parents and kids want to go back to school. The kids want to go back to school and they're not being allowed to. Their choice is being taken away from them,” said Ashcroft.
McKinney ISD tells NBC 5, “One of the primary reasons for delaying in-person instruction was to reduce the possibility of a lengthier closure this fall by opening schools at a time when COVID cases were peaking in the area. Despite the fact that some students may pose less risk or vulnerability to the virus, the decision was also made based upon the health and well-being of McKinney ISD teachers, students' families, and in an effort to mitigate the spread of the virus in our community.”