DALLAS — It's an incredibly tough and quick decision facing North Texas parents: do you send your kids physically back into their schools in August? Or do you opt for virtual learning?
"It's getting close," Dallas ISD Superintendent Dr. Michael Hinojosa told WFAA this week. "We're supposed to start school in Dallas in five weeks."
Hinojosa made headlines this week when he suggested pushing back the August 17 start date.
"I think that's an option that we must consider. I don't think it's an unreasonable request," he said.
It's something other districts are considering, too. Friday afternoon, Denton ISD announced it would be delaying the start of school by two weeks.
A Fort Worth ISD spokesman said Friday, "We continue to plan for the opening of in-person school on August 17."
Rena Honea is the president of Alliance-AFT, which represents Dallas ISD employees. At a news conference Friday, where the union discussed the TEA's recommendations for re-opening schools, Honea said she thinks more time would help.
"We made a recommendation to the superintendent that if school has to open, hopefully it would be after Labor Day, when there's more information to go on," Honea said.
It's a discussion happening not just in D-FW, but across the nation, too.
"Schools must be open in the fall," President Donald Trump tweeted Friday. "If not open, why would the federal government give funding? It won’t!"
Gretchen Whitmer, the governor of Michigan, took a different stance.
"I want to make this clear," she tweeted Friday. "I will not send our kids and our education workforce into our schools unless it is safe to do so, plain and simple. I have made decisions based on science and facts to keep Michiganders safe since the beginning, and won’t stop now."
Back in Dallas, DISD School Board Trustee Joyce Foreman says she's open to Hinojosa's idea of delaying the start of school.
"This is not an easy decision, as you know," Foreman said Friday. "There are people on all sides of the decision."
Trustee Ben Mackey also weighed in on the suggestion via email.
"I am in support of considering this idea" Mackey wrote. "In a time of crisis such as this, we should be exploring all possible options to enhance student and family safety while balancing the urgency to ensure students have access to high quality learning."
Hinojosa and the school board will discuss this in the coming weeks. In the meantime, parents in Dallas and beyond are closely watching, as districts make decisions that could impact their own decisions.
More on WFAA:
- Plano ISD releases 37-page back-to-school plan
- New TEA COVID-19 guidelines give little direction to special education instructors, teachers union says
- Teachers share concerns over TEA guidelines to reopen schools
- Fort Worth group helping educators and parents get creative for hands-on virtual learning
- Texas students must wear face masks at school, state agency says