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Rockwall ISD says number of students choosing in-person could hinder social distancing | See full list of district plans

North Texas districts have begun releasing further details on back-to-school plans.
Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

This story will be continually updated as districts announce changes to plans.

Districts across North Texas continue to modify their plans based on current information and recommendations from the state, Texas Education Association and CDC.

On Aug. 4, Rockwall ISD announced that given the percentage of students choosing in-person instruction, they predicted some schools may have difficulty maintaining social distancing.

The district has applied for an in-person hybrid waiver from the TEA for two high schools, but a number of other schools in the district may also be overcapacity in terms of meeting distancing guidelines.

The hybrid waiver would mean students that have chosen in-person instruction would attend in-person classes two days a week and do online learning from home the three other days.

The plans from districts have varied, with some also choosing to push back the start date, while others have decided to start on time and offer families a choice of in-person or virtual instruction.

In late July, the Fort Worth ISD school board voted to push back their start date and begin classes virtually.

This is the third schedule change for the district, the latest coming after Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton issued a legal opinion letter that said local health authorities may not issue sweeping orders to close schools for the purpose of preventing future COVID-19 infections. 

RELATED: Attorney General says local health authorities may not issue sweeping orders to close schools

Public and non-religious private schools in Tarrant County cannot return to in-person classes until Sept. 28, officials had previously announced in a commissioners court meeting.

Earlier this month, an order from Dallas County Health and Human Services stated that public and non-religious private schools must remain closed through Sept. 7.

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said in a tweet that Paxton's letter "won't change much" in the county since superintendents and educators were working collaboratively.

RELATED: First 4 weeks of school can be online-only, TEA says in new guidance

Districts have begun releasing more information on protocols and guidelines for starting the new school year amid the pandemic, as well as changes to their start dates and procedures. 

Here's a look at districts' plans to start the year.

Credit: Jay Wallis
These dates are as of July 21, 2020.

Aledo ISD

The academic year will begin Aug. 19 for Aledo ISD students. Students will have a choice between remote learning or a hybrid in-person option.

The in-person instruction will start as two days a week, then moved to five days a week on Sept. 8. Remote learning will be offered the entire school year.

Parents are asked to commit to one choice for for the first nine weeks of the year.

Allen ISD

Allen ISD announced Friday it will be moving to at-home learning for at least the first three weeks of school. The first day of school will remain Aug. 12.

On Sept. 2, the district says students who chose in-person learning will be allowed to return to campus.

"Allen ISD will make every effort for students to have the same teachers and classmates during and after this three-week period," officials said in a written statement. 

Alvarado ISD

The start date for in-person or online instruction is Aug. 17. Aug. 5 is the deadline for families to decide how their students will attend.

Argyle ISD

The district will remain on schedule with its plan with in-person and virtual learning, starting on Aug. 17.

Arlington ISD

The school year will begin with online instruction on Aug. 17, per Tarrant County's school order that says learning must be virtual through Sept. 27. 

The school district said on July 29 that it would reevaluate its online instruction plan after four weeks.

MORE: Arlington ISD's plan for returning to school

Birdville ISD

The district is following Tarrant County's order for schools and will have online-learning when school begins on Aug. 24.

In-person learning will begin on Sept. 28.

MORE: Birdville ISD's full plans for reopening

Burleson ISD

All students will start the school year remotely on August 31 and will go to full-time on-campus attendance on Sept. 8.

MORE: Burleson ISD's full plans

Carroll ISD

The district will offer in-person and virtual instruction starting Aug. 24. Parents have until Aug. 10 to decide which option they prefer.

Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD

The district announced that students will learn online-only for the first three weeks of the school year, which begins Aug. 17. On Sept. 8, students who chose in-person learning will begin attending classes on campus.

MORE: CFB ISD's full plans for returning to school

Cedar Hill ISD

Parents can choose between in-person or virtual learning for their child. The first day of school is Sept. 8.

The district released additional details on protocols Thursday, including instructional information and health and safety guidelines and procedures.

Students in 3rd to 12th grade will wear a face mask at all times. Students from pre-K to 2nd grade will wear face masks in hallways, common areas and during arrival and dismissal.

MORE: Cedar Hill's complete guide to reopening

Cleburne ISD

Parents will be asked to choose between in-person and online learning. Selections are due by July 20. The first day of school is Aug. 31.

The district said their goal is face-to-face instruction beginning then, but there are two other contingency plans "should we experience attendance fluctuations and/or resurgence of COVID-19 during the 2020-2021 school year," the district said.

MORE: Fall reopening information from Cleburne ISD

Coppell ISD

On July 27, the board of trustees approved moving the first day of school to Aug. 17. The district will provide distance learning only to all students Aug. 17 to Sept. 7, per the Dallas County order.

In-person learning will begin Sept. 8.

MORE: Coppell ISD's plan for returning to school

Crowley ISD

Students will return to school on Sept. 8. All students will participate in online learning. 

School buildings will reopen on Oct. 5. Students can then continue with their choice of either in-person or online learning.

Schools in Dallas County

Per an order issued by the Dallas County health director, all schools will be online-only through Sept. 7. 

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, the order said.

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

Dallas ISD

The start date for students is Sept. 8. The district has not yet decided whether classes will begin in-person or online at that time.

Denton ISD

Denton ISD leaders moved the first day of school to Aug. 26. The district also released a new school calendar.

In addition, the district announced that classes would be remote until Sept. 8.

Parents can decide whether they want their child to return to campus for face-to-face learning or learn online.

MORE: Full back-to-school plans from Denton ISD

DeSoto ISD

DeSoto Independent School District will begin its school year on Sept. 8. The decision was approved by the DeSoto ISD Board of Trustees at a board meeting on July 27. 

In addition to approving a delayed start date, the DeSoto ISD Board of Trustees approved a revised academic calendar for the upcoming school year. 

The new calendar extends the school day by 20 minutes. The 2020-2021 school hours are:

  • High School: 7:30 a.m. to 3:20 p.m.
  • Elementary School: 8:00 a.m. to 3:50 p.m. 
  • Middle School: 8:30 a.m. to 4:10 p.m.

Teachers will return to work on Aug. 6, in an effort to have more than 20 days of professional development opportunities and preparation before the first day of school, district officials said.

More information regarding DeSoto ISD's academic calendar can be found here.

Credit: Jay Wallis
These dates are as of July 21, 2020.

Duncanville ISD

The start of the school year has been delayed to Sept. 8, the district announced July 16.

The district will offer both in-person and virtual instruction to students.

MORE: Duncanville's detailed plans for reopening

Eagle Mountain Saginaw ISD

At the district's board meeting on Aug. 6, trustees voted to begin the school year fully remote on Aug. 20. On Sept. 8, students will begin with their choice of either in-person learning or online learning.

MORE: EMS ISD's full plans for the 2020-2021 year

Ennis ISD

School will start on Aug. 20 online-only. In-person and online instruction will take place starting Sept. 8.

On Sept. 8 and 10, students with last names A-L will attend in person to learn safety procedures. On Sept. 9 and 11, students with last names M-Z will attend face-to-face classes. 

Starting Sept. 14, all students who choose in-person instruction will attend full-time.

MORE: Ennis ISD's full back-to-school plan

Everman ISD

The district's Board of Trustee voted on August 3 to begin the school year with four weeks of virtual classes. The term will start on Aug. 13. 

On-campus instruction will be limited to students without internet access or in the special education program, as determined by the superintendent.

The district has Chromebooks and hotspots available for students who haven't received them yet when they register, officials said.

MORE: Reopening plans at Everman ISD

Fort Worth ISD

The Fort Worth ISD school board voted to start school online and push the start date back until Sept. 8.

The first four weeks of instruction will be held virtually.

The Fort Worth school year was originally scheduled to begin Aug. 17 with in-person classes beginning Sept. 28. 

Teachers who are delivering virtual instruction will do so from classrooms at their home campus. Some teachers will be entirely in-person, some entirely teaching online and some teachers will do both.

Fort Worth ISD will also follow social distancing guidelines and hygiene/cleaning protocol which was released by the TEA.

The district's plans also mentioned disciplinary action related to COVID-19 protocol, which includes verbal redirection, counseling by a teacher, counselor or administrative personnel, and a parent-student-teacher conference.

"Any student intentionally coughing, sneezing, or spitting on another student or staff member with the intention of infecting the other student with COVID-19 while on the bus, campus, or at a school-related event is a violation of the Student Code of Conduct: Assault (Board Policy)," the district says in the guidelines, along with the disciplinary process.

MORE: Fort Worth ISD's plans for reopening

Frisco ISD

The school year will begin online-only for the first three weeks of school, starting on Aug. 13. In-person learning will begin on Sept. 3 for students who have chosen that route.

Parents will receive a commitment form for their students to choose whether their child will attend classes online or on campus, the district said.

The district will alert parents, students and staff about the disease activity level based on information from local health departments, between substantial, moderate and minimal. 

Those levels are based on the number of new cases per 100,000 people and the positivity rate. That level will determine guidance on face coverings.

Under substantial or moderate levels, face coverings will be required for children 3rd through 12th grade and for staff and visitors. For students in pre-K through 2nd grade, masks are required when they are in hallways and common areas.

Under minimal level, masks will only be required by visitors and for students when they are in hallways or other common areas.

Credit: Frisco ISD

Garland ISD

Garland ISD says students will learn online-only from Aug. 10 to Sept. 7, in accordance with the Dallas County order.

Students will begin their choice of in-person classes or virtual learning on Sept. 8.

The district also changed school hours to add 10 minutes of instruction time. The school year calendar also has intersession days where students can participate in remediation, acceleration or enrichment activities, the district said.

In a FAQ section, it says "Will teachers get to choose if they want a remote or face-to-face schedule?"

The district says decisions will be made based on medical certifications and doctor's notes. Staff who lead online learning will be assigned to a Garland ISD facility to conduct instruction in order to have all the support and materials they need, the district said.

MORE: Garland ISD's plans for reopening

Granbury ISD

Parents can choose between online learning or in-person learning. The first day of school is Aug. 12.

Granbury ISD also says that all students will be provided with free school supplies for the upcoming year.

Grand Prairie ISD

As of July 20, the district will begin the year completely online. The first day of school is set for Aug. 17. In-person instruction will begin on Sept. 8 for the families that choose it.

MORE: Grand Prairie ISD's plans to start the year

Grapevine-Colleyville ISD

Per Tarrant County's school order, school will resume online-only until after Sept. 27. Then on Sept. 28, students will resume school with their choice of either: in-person or virtual learning. The first day of school is Aug. 17.

MORE: GCISD's plans for the fall

Godley ISD

Godley ISD's school year will start Aug. 4. Parents had a choice of in-person and virtual instruction for their kids. 

MORE: Godley's plans for the return to school 

Hurst-Euless-Bedford ISD

Per the Tarrant County schools order, the district will have online-only classes until Sept. 27. On Sept. 28, students will continue with their choice of either in-person or virtual learning. The first day of school is Aug. 18.

MORE: HEB ISD's 'Return to Learn' plan

Highland Park ISD

Highland Park plans to start school with an emergency closure schedule starting Thursday, Aug. 20, with parents being given the option to send their children to school for in-person instruction beginning Tuesday, Sept. 8. 

MORE: Highland Park ISD's back-to-school plan

Irving ISD

Irving ISD will return to school on Aug. 17 for online-only learning. Those who choose to learn in-person will do so starting on Sept. 8, the district said. Online learning can continue as an option as well.

Online registration began on July 6 and parents are asked to make their selection by July 24.

Students from pre-K to 2nd grade will only wear face coverings while in hallways, riding the bus, common areas and arrival/dismissal.

Students from 3rd grade to 12th grade will wear face coverings when in hallways, common areas, riding the bus and arrival/dismissal.

The district released a FAQ document on Thursday related to the TEA guidelines on reopening.

MORE: Irving ISD's roadmap for back-to-school

Joshua ISD

The Board of Trustees voted to delay the start of the school year to Aug. 31, pushing it back from the original date of Aug. 18.

Both in-person and virtual learning will be offered. 

The last day of the school year will now be June 2, 2021.

Keene ISD

Keene ISD will have in-person classes and students who want to learn from home will be able to watch a live video feed. The first day of school is Aug. 4.

Keller ISD

Per Tarrant County's school order, all students will return to classes online-only until after Sept 27. School begins Aug. 19.

High school students will also have the option to compose a hybrid schedule consisting of some in-person instruction and some remote instruction.

However, the district plans to hold a special meeting of its board on Aug. 3 to discuss whether any changes should be made given the new guidance.

MORE: Keller's plans for returning to school

Krum ISD

The start of school has been rescheduled for Aug. 19, and students will have the option of remote or in-person learning. Choices must be made by Aug. 5.

MORE: Krum's plans for back-to-school

Lake Dallas ISD

The school year calendar was changed and the semester will begin on Aug. 26 both in-person and virtually.

MORE: Details from Lake Dallas ISD

Lancaster ISD

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

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."

MORE: Lancaster ISD's reopening plans

Lewisville ISD

The district announced Monday that it will follow Denton County health department's recommendation to delay in-person lessons to Sept. 8.

The first day of school is Aug. 19 with online learning.

MORE: Lewisville's plans for returning to school

Little Elm ISD

School will begin Aug. 25 with the choice of in-person or at-home learning.

MORE: Resources for returning to school at Little Elm ISD

Lovejoy ISD

The first day of class is Aug. 17, and the first three weeks of school will be online-only for all students.

Those who have chosen face-to-face instruction will begin in-person classes on Sept. 8.

MORE: Lovejoy ISD's planning guide for 2020-2021

Mansfield ISD

The district changed guidelines according to the order in Tarrant County. School begins on Aug. 12. The district will be online-only until Sept. 8. 

MORE: Plans from Mansfield ISD

Mesquite ISD

Mesquite ISD will begin the school year online-only on Aug. 17.

In-person learning is aimed to begin on Sept. 14. Parents who would like their child to continue learning from home after Sept. 14 must enroll by Aug. 3.

The district plans to offer online-only learning through Sept. 11, unless a change to a state or local order requires them to change, the superintendent said. They are also prepared to continue online-only instruction if necessary.

The district is also issuing internet-ready devices to every student who requests one as well as a hot spot, if needed. Each campus will distribute Chromebooks, iPads and hot spots from Aug. 3 to Aug. 5.

A free drive-thru pickup for school supplies and backpacks is scheduled for Aug. 8. Go here to learn more and register.

MORE: Plans for returning to school in Mesquite

McKinney ISD

McKinney ISD officials announced they have decided to begin school with virtual instruction until the public health situation improves. Their goal is to begin offering on-campus instruction on Sept. 3 

Their school year is set to begin Aug. 13. 

"Students who had opted for on-campus instruction will be served in a virtual learning environment with the same teacher and classmates who would be in their on-campus classroom," officials said in a written statement.

MORE: McKinney's instructional plan for Fall 2020

Midlothian ISD

The board approved a two-delay, so school will begin Aug. 20. Instruction will be done virtually until Sept. 8, when students will return to campus in small groups to learn and practice the safety protocols. 

In-person instruction will resume for all students the week of Sept. 14 and families will have the option of attending virtually or in-person.

MORE: Back-to-school at Midlothian ISD

Muenster ISD

Parents can choose between in-person and virtual learning for their child. The school year will begin with in-person learning, for those who have picked that option. The first day of school is Aug. 12.

MORE: Muenster ISD's detailed plan

Northwest ISD

The first day of school is Aug. 20. Students will learn remotely for the first 16 days of the school year and can return to in-person learning Sept. 14 if there are no spikes in coronavirus cases, school officials said July 30. Parents must decide by Aug. 6 whether they want their children to return to campus. 

MORE: Northwest ISD's planning for the fall

Plano ISD

Plano ISD announced Friday that it will start its school year with virtual learning for all students. 

Teachers will have an in-person workday on Sept. 8 and then parents who did not select remote learning will be allowed to send their children to campus Sept. 9.

The first day of the school year is Aug. 12.

Plano ISD was the first district to release a detailed plan on moving forward with the TEA guidelines

The 37-page plan, released July 9, goes over cleaning protocols and social distancing students and staff.

Parents can choose either face-to-face learning or virtual learning for their children. 

RELATED: Plano ISD releases 37-page back-to-school plan

MORE: Details from Plano ISD

Princeton ISD

Princeton ISD will offer in-person classes and online instruction beginning Aug. 13. A few more teachers were hired to help with the delivery of online learning, the district said.

MORE: Princeton ISD's reopening plan

Prosper ISD

Students will return on Aug. 12, and will have the choice of in-person and remote learning. Teachers will return to schools on Aug. 3 to prepare for the year.

Red Oak ISD

School will begin Aug. 20 with in-person and virtual instruction.

MORE: Red Oak ISD's plans for back to school

Richardson ISD

Following Dallas County's orders, Richardson ISD says it will immediately discontinue in-person student activities until after Labor Day. 

RISD still plans to begin school on Aug. 19.

The district will offer virtual instruction at the start of the school year. District officials say in-person classes are tentatively scheduled to begin Sept. 8.

"It’s possible that the start of in-person instruction could be delayed further if public health authorities order school closures past Sept. 7," school officials said in a written statement.

MORE: Richardson ISD's plans for back-to-school

Rockwall ISD

Rockwall ISD Board of Trustees approved to delay the start of school for remote and in-person learning to Aug. 26, the district said.

"This decision comes after weeks of conversations and collaboration with Rockwall County, neighboring Royse City ISD, who is also considering a delayed start, and input received through an employee Start of School Survey," the district said.

Of 6,000 commitments from students in the district, 68% chose in-person learning and 32% chose remote learning, the district said.

On Aug. 4, the district said it was applying for waiver through the TEA for high schools to use an in-person hybrid schedule for grades 9 to 12. Rockwall ISD said the number of students choosing in-person instruction was too high for the schools to maintain social distancing with all positive respondents in the school at the same time. 

At Rockwall High School, 71% chose in-person, and 66% did at Rockwall-Heath High School. If granted the waiver, the high school students would attend in-person two days, and be home for three days each week. 

The district said a number of schools also face possible overcapacity situations, including Shannon Elementary, Spring Elementary, Stevenson, Amy Parks-Heath, and Cain Middle. 

"Based on the current data with approximately 8,000 of 17,000 commitments received to date, 68% choose In-Person learning and 32% choose Remote Learning districtwide," Senior Chief Financial Officer David Carter said. "Given social distancing recommendations of 6 feet, the current number of requests for in-person learning will make it difficult if it continues at the same trend."

Carter said roughly half of the district's students would need to choose in-person for schools to meet recommended distancing guidelines. 

Royse City ISD

The district will start in-person and virtual instruction on Aug. 24. The district said they delayed the start date to prepare for in-person learning.

MORE: Details of their reopening plan

Sanger ISD

Parents will be able to choose whether their student attends learning in-person or online only. The first day of school is Aug. 24.

MORE: Return to learning at Sanger ISD

White Settlement ISD

The first day of school was moved to Sept. 9 during a Board of Education meeting. Students will have the option of in-person or virtual learning.

"The change was made so that we have enough time to implement the safety procedures and prepare the training of employees and teachers, in order to make sure that all our team members are ready for the changes and challenges of the 2020-21 school year," the district said in a statement. 

MORE: Details of White Settlement's plans

Wylie ISD

The district is offering both in-person and virtual learning.

The first day of school is Aug. 13.

MORE: Wylie ISD's plans for back-to-school

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