School will begin as scheduled for Little Elm ISD.
The LEISD Board of Trustees had scheduled a special meeting for Thursday to discuss recommendations made Monday by the Denton County Public Health Department on opening schools.
But Tuesday, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said school districts are the appropriate entities to determine when and how schools should open.
“While playing an important role in protecting the health of school children and employees, local health authorities may not issue sweeping orders closing schools for the sole purpose of preventing future COVID-19 infections,” Paxton said.
As a result, the district canceled the special board meeting and announced both in-person and at-home learning will begin Aug. 25 for LEISD.
Parents took to social media to express their support for the district’s decision to keep the Aug. 25 plan in place.
“Thank you! This is the best option,” one parent said on Facebook. “Parents can choose what’s best for their child. We’re looking forward to in person school.”
Denton County, per the advice of Dr. Matt Richardson, DCPH health director, and Dr. Marty Buchanan, DCPH health authority, did not issue orders but did provide several recommendations, including delaying face-to-face instruction until Sept. 8.
There were several exceptions to that recommendation, such as on-site virtual learning activities and school-sponsored events that can take place outdoors, such as UIL sports, bands, choirs, competitions and similar events.
The DCPH recommended that districts use virtual, remote or distance learning in compliance with their approved start dates before Sept. 8 to meet TEA requirements.
The county stated administrators, teachers and staff could return to their campuses to provide virtual learning, perform administrative duties, and provide food distribution, such as free and reduced lunches.
The county recommended districts to create, maintain and provide a safety plan once in-person classes resume and to disseminate the plan to the community two weeks before campuses open.
“We continue to utilize the latest information available to us locally and through the scientific community in order to provide recommendations to best protect all community members in Denton County,” stated Dr. Buchanan. “School district boards remain the decision makers in determining their school calendars, methods of education provision, and daily education operations.”
“We remain in continued communication with superintendents throughout Denton County as we navigate this unprecedented time due to COVID-19,” Dr. Richardson stated. “These recommendations are due to growing case counts, growing positivity rates, and the likely disease transmission that occurs days before symptoms occur. We take these and other factors into consideration when making this recommendation.”