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Dallas County order says all districts must be online-only through Sept. 7

The order was signed after two weeks of more than 1,000 positive COVID-19 cases a day in Dallas County.

Updated at 6:14 p.m. with comments from county officials. 

School in Dallas County must be online-only until after Sept. 7, according to a new order from Dallas County Health and Human Services that was released Thursday.

The order, signed by Dallas County Health and Human Services Director Philip Huang, says that schools shall not have on-campus or face-to-face learning until Sept. 8. 

Teachers and staff can be on campus to conduct online learning as long as social distancing is followed and face coverings are on at all-times.

All school-sponsored events and activities, including sports, cannot take place until on-campus instruction resumes. The order applies to all public, private and charter schools in the county. 

As the Dallas County health authority, Huang made the decision to delay in-person schooling. 

The order cited record-high numbers of COVID-19 cases and record-high numbers of COVID-19-related hospitalizations.

On Thursday, Dallas County reported its 14th consecutive day of more than 1,000 cases.

The county has seen a record number of emergency room visits, Huang said. 

"Given these numbers, it's really imperative that we do what's best for the safety of our school children" and school staff, he said. 

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said there will be a committee to review schooling plans. The committee will include a child psychologist. 

"Covid is taking an emotional and psychological toll on our kids," Jenkins said. 

The order came after the school districts of Cedar Hill, DeSoto, Duncanville and Lancaster announced that they intend to delay the start of school to Sept. 8.

This decision was already approved by each district's board of trustees, according to a Lancaster ISD spokesperson.

The districts want this change to "ensure an environment that works to protect the health, wellness and preparedness of our students and staff for the upcoming school year," the districts said in a statement. "Postponing the school start date will allow school systems in our area time to assess the status of the COVID-19 pandemic and adjust accordingly."

The Dallas Independent School District school board will discuss re-opening options at a meeting July 23. 

"The health and safety of our students, staff, and community remains our top priority, and together we will provide a safe return with local, state and federal guidance," Dallas ISD officials said in a written statement. 

Under the Dallas County order, all public and private schools must submit a written safety plan two weeks prior to resuming in-person classes. Those plans will be reviewed by Huang to ensure staff and students will have adequate access to handwashing stations and will be able to maintain 6 feet of physical distance. 

RELATED: Districts of Duncanville, DeSoto, Lancaster and Cedar Hill delay start of school to Sept. 7

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