Tarrant County Public, Non-ReligiousPrivate Schools to Offer Classes Online Only Through Sept 28, 2020 in Fight Against Covid-19
Classes will be online only through at least Sept. 28, 2020, for pre-kindergarten through 12th grade students attending public and non-religious private schools in Tarrant County, under a new Joint Control Order announced by local health authorities on Tuesday.
The newest control measure, which goes into effect immediately, is part of Tarrant County’s ongoing fight against the spread of COVID-19.
Tarrant County Public Health Director Vinny Taneja said the order is needed to continue to slow the spread of COVID-19.
"The safety of our children is our greatest concern along with the health of their parents, teachers and friends," Taneja said. "With community spread actively in place, our children going to school would undo everything that our stay at home and mask-wearing efforts have tried to accomplish."
Mansfield ISD announced Tuesday that all students will begin school remotely on Aug. 12 and Arlington ISD also announced it will begin school remotely on Aug. 17.
“While this isn’t what everyone wanted to hear, we recognize that the decision was made in the best interest of safety for our students, staff members and community,” Arlington ISD Superintendent Dr. Marcelo Cavazos said in a news release issued by the district Tuesday. “We appreciate the work that went into making this decision and we know that leaves our parents, students and staff with many questions that we will begin answering today and in the coming days.”
Under the Joint Control Order:
1.) Public and non-religious private schools in Arlington shall not re-open for on-campus, face-to-face instruction or activities until September 28, 2020, except:
a. Administrators, teachers, and staff may conduct or facilitate virtual or remote learning processes while on-campus provided they strictly follow the existing guidance for social distancing and facial coverings;
b. All school-sponsored events and activities, including but not limited to clubs, sports, band, choir, fairs, exhibitions, academic and/or athletic competitions, and similar student activities may only take place remotely or outdoors, with social distancing requirements of a minimum of six feet, facial coverings, and other established safety protocols determined by the School System;
c. Special education instruction may occur when necessary and in accordance with TEA guidelines so long as and when feasible, facial coverings are worn over one's nose and mouth, and social distancing measures of at least six feet are followed;
d. Students whose individual education plans cannot be implemented with remote learning or who have limited household connectivity to the internet may be provided in-person instruction with social distancing and facial coverings, as feasible.
2.) Prior to September 28, 2020, public and non-religious private schools in Arlington shall reopen campuses through virtual, remote, or distance learning only as per each school system's own plan and provide curbside meals from the school campuses while following federal, state, and local guidelines to prevent transmission of COVID-19 in the workplace.
3.) School personnel are permitted to return to school campuses and facilities to provide virtual, remote or distance learning instruction and related instructional activities, to provide food distribution including free and reduced lunch services, and to perform administrative duties. Such duties and activities are to be conducted consistent with the health guidance protocols issued by the TEA.
4.) At least two weeks prior to reopening for on-campus instruction and on-campus activities, each school system shall submit a written plan for resuming on-campus instruction and extracurricular activities to the local health authority with jurisdiction over the school. The school system may make the plan available for parents, teachers, staff, and the public.
Local health authorities, including the City of Arlington's health authority Dr. Cynthia Simmons, encourage that religious private schools, which are not covered by the Joint Control Order, voluntarily implement similar health and safety measures to protect the health and well-being of students, teachers, staff, parents, and the community.