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Some North Texas Religious Private Schools Prepare To Reopen During Pandemic

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Dallas County health officials have ordered schools to remain closed until September 8.

At that point, they can only offer at home or virtual instruction.

This applies to all public, private and charter schools, but not to religious private schools.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton issued a guidance letter last week to religious private schools letting them know that the local health orders that restrict reopenings do not apply to them.

Paxton points out the Texas Religious Freedom Restoration Act allows them to decide when they want to reopen.

First Baptist Academy is one school planning to open its doors in three weeks.

"Because we're smaller and we have a spacious campus, we felt like we were able to take all of the necessary precautions to keep our kids safe," Head of School Jason Lovvorn said.

First Baptist Academy
First Baptist Academy (CBS 11))

Lovvorn says First Baptist Academy's number one goal is to minimize person-to-person exposure for their 300 students.

In terms of class sizes, there will only be about 10 to 15 students per class, elementary students will have desk shields and middle and high school students will have portable desk shields that they can take from class to class.

Masks are required and there will be digital temperature checks at the door.

Lovvorn says if a student has been exposed to COVID-19 or feels sick, it's critical they stay home.

"We're going to communicate with our parents how important it is for everyone to make sure that they're honest and communicate," he said. "We'll be monitoring everything, every single day, just as we've been this summer."

The school will also be offering an at-home learning option for parents who prefer to keep their student home.

"It's our job to make sure that both sides feel comfortable so we want to offer opportunities if they're not quite comfortable coming on campus yet where they can quarantine at home and still get a good solid college prep Christian education, but we got many families who are ready to get their kids back in school on campus," Lovvorn said.


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