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Dallas ISD prepares safety guidelines for reopening classrooms

TEA guidance on the '20 - '21 school year expected next week

DALLAS — While campuses sit quiet during summer, there are many questions for teachers, parents and students on how schools in North Texas will look come August.

Pre-K teacher Brooke Hernandez is spending much of her summer break preparing multiple lesson plans.

The Kramer Elementary teacher in Dallas ISD doesn’t know yet how much time this fall will be spent face-to-face with students or through a screen.

“That the number one question -- what it’s going to look like?” Hernandez said.

A spokesperson for the Texas Education Agency told WFAA on Tuesday that guidance from the state for districts around the state could come as early as next week.

Hernandez says that’s encouraging because educators need time to prepare for what could be multiple learning environments and safety protocols.

“I want to know if kids are back in the classroom how, safety-wise, that’s going to look,” Hernandez said.

While Dallas ISD awaits specific guidance from the state, district administrators have already put into place procedures to ensure the safety of students and faculty.

Assistant Superintendent of School Leadership Leslie Stephens says Dallas ISD will implement daily temperature checks for students and staff and mark hallways for one-way traffic.

Stephens said DISD will also use face shield for students in the elementary levels – to allow teachers make out facial expressions – and help with communication. DISD will also use plexiglass to create partitions in a cafeteria setting.

Other guidelines will include possible staggered starting times and distributing masks to all students, employees and visitors.

“We’re going to have kids come back,” Stephens said. “How many kids may be the differing factor.”

Right now, Dallas ISD is considering three options, which include having all students back on campus, all students in a virtual setting or a hybrid of both – allowing students to be on campus two days a week and the remaining three days online.

Hernandez says she is looking forward to school starting again but emphasized how important it is for teachers to be able to interact in-person with students, to create the necessary bonds in the first few weeks of the school year.

“I know the teachers miss the students and the students miss the teachers,” Hernandez said.

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