Schools reopening a week early for students moving between certain grade levels

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While school starts in a distance-learning model for all district students on Tues., Sept. 8, current plans call for the restart of on-campus classes in Dallas ISD on Mon., Oct. 5. Based on the recent leveling out of Dallas County COVID-19 cases, Dallas ISD is inviting students who will attend classes for the first time in a new building to return a week early, on Mon., Sept. 28.

Students in grades prekindergarten, kindergarten, those moving to a new campus for fourth or sixth grade, from elementary to a new middle school, and from middle school to a new building for high school have the option to start school on Mon., Sept. 28. This early start of on-campus classes only applies to students who are transitioning to a new building. Students who are simply moving to the next grade in a school they attended last year will return with all other students on Oct. 5. A document detailing the phased-in reopening is available here.

School Leadership Chief Jolee Healey says giving the district’s youngest learners and students moving to new schools a one-week jump-start on the school year will give them a chance to get acclimated to new surroundings and start building relationships with teachers and peers.

“The current health environment has made the start of school an unusual experience for all students,” said Healey. “Add to that the stress of navigating a new building, and it’s not a stretch to realize that students may need a period of adjustment to get acclimated. That’s the idea behind the one-week early return for these students.”

Healey said principals of schools receiving these students will be reaching out to their parents to communicate plans for the early restart of on-campus classes.

Beginning today, the district is also launching a parent survey asking parents to indicate their preference for on-campus or distance learning for their children. Parents are urged to respond to the survey by Sept. 7.

As previously announced, the district is also phasing in designated special education related services by appointment in a one on one setting on Sept. 8, and certain special education classes will be opened for face-to-face instruction with parent opt-in on Sept. 17.

The phased-in return to campus also impacts athletics. At high school, athletics strength and conditioning, sports and related UIL extracurricular activities will restart per the following schedule.

  • Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2020 – Varsity ONLY for the following sports: cross-country, football, golf, swimming, team tennis, and volleyball.
  • Monday, Sept. 14, 2020 – Sub-varsity (9th grade and JV) for the following sports: cross-country, football, golf, swimming, team tennis, and volleyball
  • Monday, Sept. 21, 2020 – UIL marching band, drill team, and cheerleading

Plans call for the start of middle school conditioning Sept. 28, followed by practices for athletes, UIL band, drill team and cheerleaders on Oct. 5 and the start of in-district football and volley ball games on Oct. 12. As of now, the middle school football season will consist of six to seven games and the volleyball season will include 10 to 12 games.

The restart of in-person classes and athletic activities will be subject to all approved district health and safety protocols. District officials caution these plans are based on current county health data with the understanding that plans may be adjusted if data changes. All activities will be closely monitored, and if confirmed cases of COVID-19 are detected, appropriate action will be taken to protect students and staff.

Specifically, the phased-in restart of athletics and UIL activities will be required to comply with the following key tenets, and transportation will not be provided for athletic or UIL activities.

Guidance:  Details of the CDC- and UIL-aligned protocols have been provided and explained to each of the campus coordinators and will be strictly enforced.

Implementation:  All schools will implement a “Small Group Instruction” Model to minimize the number of student athletes on campus at a given time. Strength and conditioning sessions will occur outdoors. Marching Band, Drill Team, Cheerleading and other extracurriculars will implement all required safety protocols for participation.

Monitoring: Central office athletic directors and athletic trainers as well as visual and performing arts staff will monitor and assist with all phases of the reentry implementation. Campus visits will be completed to ensure fidelity of process implementation.

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