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North Texas School Districts Prepare To Educate Online Due To Coronavirus Case Surge: 'We Won't Move To In-Person Schooling Until It's Safe'

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - With school scheduled to start in the coming weeks, most North Texas parents still don't know exactly what to expect.

"This is definitely the number one topic between me and my friends right now," said Jennifer McDaniel.

McDaniel has one daughter headed to third grade at Richardson ISD and another starting kindergarten.

"It's kind of sad. I hate it. There's no easy solution," she said.

The Texas Education Agency announced Friday schools can choose to hold their first four weeks of class online, if they want to, or even eight weeks with TEA approval.

"There certainly has been certainly a lot of confusion, in terms of who has the authority," said Dallas County Health Director Dr. Phil Huang.

Thursday, Huang signed an order barring any face-to-face instruction in Dallas County before September 8.

His decision came after statements by the TEA earlier this week suggested it would be up to local health officials.

"We won't move to in person schooling until it is safe," said Richardson ISD Superintendent Dr. Jeannie Stone.

Richardson, as well as Plano and McKinney ISDs in Collin County, announced Friday they will start their year on time with online learning.

Cedar Hill, DeSoto, Duncanville and Lancaster ISDs announced Thursday they'd delay the start of school until after Labor Day.
Others have yet to make a definite decision.

"I think with things changing every day. It's just been really hard for everybody to plan. No matter what the scenario is – school, work, anything," said McDaniel.

The TEA Friday also said it would allow high schools to use a hybrid model when they resume in person instruction, with students attending some classes in person and others from home.

The model allows schools to have a fewer number of students on campus at one time, making social distancing easier.

Arlington ISD said Friday it was exploring that possibility, along with others.

"The health & safety of students, teachers & parents is the top priority," Republican Gov. Greg Abbott tweeted shortly after the TEA announcement.

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