DALLAS — Graduations and curbside school celebrations signal the end of one school year and the beginning of the next. But after nine weeks of out-of-classroom learning, the next school year may begin with as much uncertainty as the last.
As school districts across North Texas decide when to open for the fall semester, Sunnyvale ISD is planning on an Aug. 19 first day of school. How it opens is still up for discussion.
"The best part of my job is to walk through that door and be able to go in classrooms and see what my teachers do best and seeing my kids learn," said Doug Williams, the Sunnyvale ISD superintendent.
Sunnyvale ISD is a small but quickly growing school district with more than 2,000 students currently enrolled. Williams said administrators will discuss every plan on the table starting on June 1.
"Plan A is all. Everybody will be here. Plan B is blended; we will have some regular school but we also have some remotely," said Williams, echoing what other districts have also said. "And Plan C is back to online learning which is not ideal but they've survived nine weeks of that already."
Dr. Anthony Fauci, of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, met with lawmakers Tuesday.
"I think we better be careful if we are not cavalier in thinking that children are immune to the deleterious effects," said Fauci.
The Texas Education Agency which sets the general guidelines for how schools should operate, told WFAA Tuesday it is working on a plan that would keep students safe.
"TEA and Commissioner Morath are in constant contact with school systems statewide to address a wide range of time-sensitive issues brought about by COVID-19," the agency said. "Further clarity on the 2020-21 academic year and guidance on what instruction will look like for Texas’s more than 5.5 million public school students will be issued at a later date and in consultation with the appropriate state and national health authorities. Ensuring the health and safety of students, staff, and their families is paramount during this ongoing public health crisis."
Williams hopes families can trust administrators to make the right decisions. The district has already looked into doing more deep cleans of classrooms and other facilities.
"We are going to have to look at different forms of screening. I don't know if we're talking about daily temperature checks or things of that nature," said Williams.
The superintendent does not envision long lines of students getting screened as they walk into the school.
But he said they are not ruling out any practice that could make their campus safer.