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Dallas ISD Unlikely to Reopen This Year, Hinojosa Says

Dallas ISD Superintendent Michael Hinojosa spoke to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott in October 2018 after a school safety announcement.
Dallas ISD Superintendent Michael Hinojosa spoke to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott in October 2018 after a school safety announcement.
Stephen Young

Dallas ISD students are continuing to learn during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, but they are unlikely to return to the classroom this year, district Superintendent Michael Hinojosa said during a news conference Monday. The district will make a final determination in short order, he said.

"We're very close to making that call, but we don't want students to give up yet," he said.

Since Dallas ISD called off classes during spring break in mid-March, the district has been in contact with almost 99% of its students in one way or another, according to the superintendent.

For elementary school students, the interaction has been mostly low-tech, as younger students aren't provided electronic devices by Dallas ISD, although the district has placed an expedited order for devices for its third- through fifth-graders. Many of the district's middle school and high school students were given take-home devices and internet hot spots before going home for spring break, Hinojosa said. Students are receiving at least one grade per week.

The district has already distributed 9,000 hot spots and has 5,000 more on order, plus there's a plan to purchase an additional 10,000, Hinojosa said.

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As the district winds down for the year, Hinojosa said the district is focused on making sure no student gets hurt by the changes forced by COVID-19. Dallas ISD, for example, has been wary of switching to a pass/fail grading system for the year because of the effects it could have on seniors.

"There are things that we're going to have to freeze in time until we figure out how the UIL and NCAA are going to handle things."

Hinojosa said Dallas ISD will use what it's learned this spring — what has and hasn't worked for students and teachers — if it has to.

"The Spanish flu had other spikes," Hinojosa said. "We've got to be ready."

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