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Health Officials Order Tarrant County Schools Not To Reopen Campuses For In-Person Teaching

FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) — Students in Tarrant County will not being going back to school in-person.

Authorities with Tarrant County Public Health imposed an order on schools Tuesday that keeps students at home, earning virtually, until at least the end of September.

In Fort Worth, more than half of the students who had registered for the 2020 fall semester indicated they wanted to go back to class in-person next month. And that was the plan of the Fort Worth Independent School District too as of yesterday.

But everything changed Tuesday morning after three local health authorities signed an order preventing kids from returning to classrooms.

"It was our position that we wanted students and teachers to be safe," said FWISD Superintendent Kent Scribner. "Everyone wants students back in school but we want to do it in a safe way."

The order says schools cannot reopen until at least September 28. All instruction will have to be done virtually, although teachers will be allowed on-campus to do that.

After listening to doctors and talking with school officials, who were part of the conversation, the timing was largely based around surges in cases seen after recent holidays. They wanted to wait until a few weeks after Labor Day, and any new surge that might come up, before allowing students and staff to be together again.

"Our hope is that we would be in a downward decline just like what we saw in May, and schools can reopen, because obviously it's very hard to keep schools closed," said public health director Vinny Taneja. "There's a lot of ripple impact on the community."

There are a few exceptions to the public health order. Special education, can be done in-person when necessary. So can instruction for students who have limited access to an internet connection

While private religious schools do not fall under the order, the doctors who signed the order Tuesday urged them to implement it.

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