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FWISD trustees delay opening of school until Sept. 8

Posted July 31, 2020

The Fort Worth ISD Board of Education voted 8-1 to delay the opening of the 2020-21 school year until Sept. 8 and then to offer online, at-home learning only for the first four weeks, embracing a “safety first” measure for students and employees during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Following the four weeks of online instruction, trustees will again evaluate the public health crisis and the trajectory of COVID-19 cases.

“Our board strongly supports and prioritizes the health and safety of our children and employees,” said Superintendent Kent P. Scribner. “Our goal is to get students back in school when it is safe to do so.”

“Educators are being asked to solve a public health problem. We have a great responsibility in this moment. We pledge not only to continue educating all of our children, but commit that we will do everything possible to ensure the health and safety of our employees as well as the students and families we all serve,” Scribner said.

The action followed a series of changing directives from local and state authorities.

“We are adapting to both changing public health conditions and changing guidance from state agencies,” Scribner said.

The district had originally planned to begin the school year Aug. 17 and had offered parents the opportunity to choose either virtual or in-person instruction for their students. However, last week Tarrant County health officials ordered that all public and private schools to operate virtually until Sept. 28.

Then, Texas Attorney Gen. Ken Paxton wrote an opinion that local health officials do not have the authority to stop in-person learning.

Texas Education Agency (TEA) Commissioner Mike Morath withdrew his agency’s previous guidance regarding school openings and local health authorities’ directives. The TEA did specify districts could open schools with a transition period of online instruction for four weeks.

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