Dallas ISD Provides More Details on Return to Campuses

After surveying parents to determine which families would be returning to their campuses as early as Sept. 28, Dallas ISD said that all high schools and at least one elementary school – Lakewood Elementary – will be on a hybrid schedule.

The Dallas ISD board of trustees will vote on the plan at its Thursday meeting.

The survey results indicated that middle schools and elementary schools will be below the threshold it has set that will allow for adequate distancing between students.

The proposed hybrid model will – the district hopes – reduce the number of students on campus at any one time by dividing them into two groups and alternating their time on campus. 

The district said that high school principals in particular were advocating for the model.

Dallas ISD Trustee Dustin Marshall, whose district includes much of Preston Hollow, said that he was “not thrilled” with the option, calling it “one-size-fits-all.”

“However, the high school principals throughout the district have almost unanimously asked for this hybrid option to be implemented throughout all high schools due to space constraints within their buildings,” Marshall said in a Facebook post. “After speaking with the D2 principals and reviewing the physical constraints of classroom sizes and schedules, all levels of the administration are convinced that it is physically impossible to permit all families who opted for in-person instruction the ability to attend 5 days each week.”

The district said that it had factored in the high school principals’ input, as well as advice from Dallas County health officials.

““High school principals strongly support this model as important to promoting safety because they expect that more students will return to in-person learning than indicated in the results of the ongoing survey of student intent,” the district said.

On the elementary and middle school level, it was determined that most schools would be below the threshold when enrollment, availability of portables and other spaces, and campus capacity were factored in. 

“This decision, like all hybrid decisions, will be reviewed at the end of each nine-week period to determine when we can shift to five-day-a-week on-campus learning for all schools,” the district said.

Families that attend schools affected by the hybrid option will receive a new survey Wednesday that offers the option of distance learning, hybrid, or transferring to a campus that will be offering five-day-a-week on-campus learning. 

Pre-K, kindergarten, and sixth graders will return Sept. 28, ninth graders will return to a hybrid model that day as well, and specialized special education classes will be five days a week. All other students will return the week of Oct. 5, regardless of whether they’re hybrid or daily. Parents will be notified of final high school schedules by Friday.

“I know we are all eager to safely get ALL of our kids back in front of a teacher in a physical classroom, so I appreciate the patience and understanding of the DISD community as we try our best to balance parent choice with safety and community well-being,” Marshall said. “There are no easy decisions during this difficult time.”

How did Preston Hollow area families choose?

See all the survey results here.

Bethany Erickson

Bethany Erickson, Digital Editor at People Newspapers, cut her teeth on community journalism, starting in Arkansas. Recently, she's taken home a few awards for her writing, including first place for her tornado coverage from the National Newspapers Association's 2020 Better Newspaper Contest, a Gold award for Best Series at the 2018 National Association of Real Estate Editors journalism awards, a 2018 Hugh Aynesworth Award for Editorial Opinion from the Dallas Press Club, and a 2019 award from NAREE for a piece linking Medicaid expansion with housing insecurity. She is a member of the Education Writers Association, the Society of Professional Journalists, the National Association of Real Estate Editors, the News Leaders Association, the News Product Alliance, and the Online News Association. She doesn't like lima beans, black licorice or the word synergy. You can reach her at [email protected].

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