Richardson ISD will comply with a Dallas County order requiring all public and private schools within its jurisdiction to remain closed for in-person classes until September 8.
“The safety of our students and staff if THE #1 PRIORITY,” Superintendent Jeannie Stone said in a July 16 tweet.
The safety of our students and staff is THE #1 PRIORITY. Dr. Philip Huang has ordered that schools must deliver all school virtually until Sept. 8th. Richardson ISD is onboard! #RISDSaySomething pic.twitter.com/NNpne8C6IR
— Jeannie Stone (@3jstone) July 16, 2020
Schools can offer virtual, remote or distance learning prior to that date, per the order issued by Dr. Philip Huang, director of the Dallas County’s Health and Human Services Department. Day cares are not affected by the order, according to a county spokesperson. Faculty and staff may return to campus to conduct online learning if social distancing is practiced and if face coverings are worn at all times.
Additionally, all school-sponsored events and activities are suspended until schools open for face-to-face instruction. This includes summer camps that are associated with schools, according to Dallas County.
In light of the announcement, RISD is immediately discontinuing summer in-person extracurricular camps and activities, according to Tim Clark, the district’s executive director of communications.
The order requires all districts to submit a written plan for on-campus instruction and extracurricular activities to the Dallas County health authority at least two weeks prior to the reopening date. The plans must also be made available to the general public.
The order points to record-high case counts and coronavirus-related hospitalizations as the reason to delay in-person learning. Dallas County reported 1,027 new cases on July 16, bringing the countywide total to 37,996.
The decision comes on the heels of Dallas County and the Dallas Fort-Worth metropolitan area being named by the White House Coronavirus Task Force as a “red zone,” a designation given to areas that saw more than 100 new cases per 100,000 population in the week prior to the document’s July 14 release. The White House document was originally obtained by The Center for Public Integrity.
Texas is in the red zone for positive tests, which means that more than 10% of tests came back positive within that same time frame, according to the task force document.