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‘We Will Not Shut the District Down' Says Dallas ISD Superintendent Michael Hinojosa

Dr. Michael Hinojosa appeared live on NBC 5 Today as students return to class after the winter break

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Dallas Independent School District Superintendent Michael Hinojosa says the district will not shut down over the surge of COVID-19 cases because students don't learn as well when they aren't in person.

As students return to class from winter break amid a surge of coronavirus cases in the community, Hinojosa said he understands parents are nervous. He said the district has extended the mask requirement through spring break and made testing a high priority by ensuring a certified nurse at every campus has the ability to test for the virus.

"I think we have enough safety measures to make it a productive environment and better learning environment by being in person," Hinojosa said in a live interview on NBC 5 Today.

Hinojosa said it's important that students return to the classroom because only about 4% learn well virtually.

"We've Been Through Worse"

When asked about concerns over possible staffing shortages because of the rapid spread of the omicron variant, Hinojosa said the district has been through worse situations and only closed two campuses for a total of four days each in the past two years.

Going forward, he said, they'll take it on a case-by-case basis.

"If a campus is overflowing with staff members who can't perform, then we'll shut that campus down," said Hinojosa. "We will not shut the district down."

Hinojosa remained firm about keeping kids in the classroom, saying moving the district to virtual learning is a "last, last, last, last, last, resort."

He went on to say that families who are adamant that they want their children in virtual learning can apply, but that the state has made it difficult to have virtual learning because of the learning losses experienced last year.

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