Carter in the classroom

Plans for School in Fall Still in Limbo

Guidelines from Texas Education Agency not as detailed as school leaders hoped

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School leaders have been waiting for weeks to hear state guidelines on how to reopen school in the fall. 

Tuesday was the day specifics were set to be revealed but districts across North Texas said they're still in the dark.

"I was on the call hoping to get, first of all, rules for how to get learning for at home learning, I got part of that. I was hoping to get the rules of engagement of how we would operate safely in August. I didn't get any of that," said Dr. Michael Hinojosa, Superintendent of the Dallas ISD.

Last week Governor Abbott told lawmakers no masks in school and students would be back in the building. Details were expected Tuesday but came in very small amounts.

NBC 5 did learn the state has masks in case schools need them, and if schools choose to have remote learning, the state's OK with it.

Everything else, like how to clean, when to open and close, those details are still not available.

"Now we're at the end of June and school starts August 17. I've actually seen a pivot on family surveys  80% of them had said they were willing to come up in the building or have some sort of combination but now that is shifting 50/50 based on the spikes of cases in the last week or so," said Hinojosa.

TEA said more guidelines will come and they're getting more feedback on their plan, as the COVID numbers increase. Dallas ISD said they're moving forward with or without the state guidance because time is running out.

"We have our rules. We're going to have masks, we're going to have shields, we're going to have plexiglass, as long as we have our plan and they don't supersede our plan we'll have some degree of safety," said Hinojosa.

Dallas ISD also said they have more computers, hot spots, and a better plan should remote learning be required this fall. Other district leaders are still processing their plans after Tuesday's limited guidelines from TEA.

Dr. Kent Scribner, Fort Worth ISD's Superintendent, said, "Many parents are concerned about what lies ahead this fall and, accordingly, what was shared today will allow districts to deliver remote instruction in a couple of different ways in the 2020-2021 school year. These options will empower our Fort Worth ISD educators to teach with both rigor and maintain the highest standards of excellence. We still don’t have all the details and look forward to more information that will be shared next week on July 2. We do know that we will, in the Commissioner’s words, be able to move forward with ‘grace and flexibility’ for both our students and our teachers."

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