Garland ISD

Students Return to School Earlier Than Normal, With No Mask Mandates

Garland, Duncanville, and some Dallas ISD schools returned Monday

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It's back to school for some students in North Texas.

Dallas ISD is operating on three different calendars.

The first schools going back were selected because their principals felt they needed the most time to catch up after the pandemic, getting in some extra instruction to help students bounce back.

In Duncanville ISD and Garland ISD all students are back in the classroom under new rules from the governor which don't require masks in the building.

After what felt like the longest school year ever, 5th grader Zani Bell said she's pretty sure she had the shortest summer ever.

"I didn't even know I had school in a few days. I thought I had three weeks left. 

Mother nature didn't help either with a rainy start to the day but her teachers at Carver Elementary and her mom tried to make this day a celebration.

"I'm not afraid, I think they're going to have a wonderful year, they're happy, they're excited, look at everyone out here, it's super fun for them," said Zani's mother Davonna.

About two-thirds of the teachers and students here showed up with masks on. New rules from Governor Abbott make it illegal to mandate masks in the building. It's now your choice. So students, parents, and teachers were allowed to show up mask-free. Some did.

"It's good to be able to see their faces. Glad to be able to do high fives and hugs this year, to have those interpersonal relationships, those connections with the children," said teacher April Bell.

Each teacher has their own recipe for how to tackle learning losses during the pandemic but school leaders say there's one common plan.

"We're going to look at our data and we're committed this year to do individualized instruction for the kids," said Lilianna Marquez, Principal Carver Elementary School."Instead of giving everybody the same, we're  giving everybody what they need to be successful."

There are more rounds of school openings throughout the next several weeks.

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