Nearly 250 out of 1,240 Lake Dallas High School students were forced to continue virtual learning because of flooding associated with storms Aug. 25.
But for the LDISD students who were able to return to in-person classes on Aug. 26, district officials said it was a success.
“We are proud of how our families and students have adjusted to new and different procedures this school year and as with any school year, our campuses usually have a few minor procedural changes – such as student drop-off, bus routes, and similar areas,” said Jennifer Perry, executive director of instruction at Lake Dallas ISD. “As we included changes such as social distancing, water bottle stations or other safety procedures, our learning community has continued to show grace and display patience. That understanding has facilitated a very positive atmosphere on all LDISD campuses, which our students felt.”
Perry added, “I know my own 6-year-old has loved every day of her return to in-person learning. Overall, we have been thrilled with our first week.”
Perry said approximately 40 percent of students returned for in-person learning. All in-person learners will return Tuesday.
From wearing face masks, social distancing to hand sanitizing stations, Lake Dallas ISD had comprehensive health policies and procedures in place for the beginning students on campus to follow as the in-person on campus 2020-21 school year started.
“Students at Lake Dallas are known for their positive attitudes and sense of school responsibility and knowing that, we were extremely pleased with the ease students were able to step into new routines,” Perry said. “Students are resilient, and they have definitely displayed that skill set this first week. More importantly, our students understand that their efforts are assisting with a larger community effort to stay healthy and safe. Whether a student has been learning as a Falcon at home or a Falcon at school, we are very pleased with the overall student engagement and the student effort in making the start of school successful.”
Procedures like “Grab and Go” breakfast and lunches to ease the buildup of a line and to ensure social distancing to having students walking in select one-way hallways, like any school starting back or preparing to start back, Lake Dallas ISD faced expected challenges.
“By nature of what we do, ongoing adjustments are consistently being made to ensure operations are prime and instruction is on point,” Perry said. “Completely unrelated to the current pandemic, our high school was forced to switch overnight to an all-virtual model because of campus flooding after Tuesday’s storms. All the hard work and preparation our staff has done to prepare for a forced transition was evident as we were able to successfully shift, literally, within a few hours to 100% virtual learning.”
Perry added, “Nothing comes without a few glitches – our technology help line stepped up to answer calls, our maintenance crew worked around the clock, and our high school staff seamlessly transitioned to remote learning. As a district, we have prepared for this situation, and we were proud to see our learning community respond in the manner in which they did.”
As schools in North Texas begin opening in-person learning next week, Perry feels the limited start helped prepare them for what to expect when even more students arrive on campuses after Labor Day.
“Every district is unique, but one aspect that’s helped us is paying close attention to updates and recommendations from the TEA, Gov. (Greg) Abbott’s office, the CDC, Denton County Public Health, and the UIL to ensure we’re following best practices for health and safety as well as aspects of virtual learning,” Perry said. “I would also add to take a deep breath and smile. Kids are so happy to be back. It would be very easy to get caught up in the procedural aspects of opening schools, but don’t forget to be the positive entity a child is hoping to see when they return. This pandemic won’t last forever, and our goal is to come out stronger and better on the other side of it.”