Tarrant County school districts making changes to school start dates after AG's ruling

Some Tarrant County school districts are moving up their start dates for in-person instruction.

Arlington ISD said Wednesday that it will start Aug. 17, by offering remote-learning only, with no time set on when in-person instruction will happen.

Carroll ISD says Southlake students will have the option of both remote and in-person when it starts next month.

Eagle Mountain-Saginaw, Keller, Mansfield and White Settlement also decided to offer in-person learning earlier than their previous plans.

Fort Worth ISD meets on Thursday and Grapevine-Colleyville on Friday to make decisions.

All of this follows the notice from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton that school districts, not health authorities, should be the ones deciding when to open their campuses.

Tarrant County school districts have had to re-work plans a few times at this point.

The smaller districts are making their decisions rather quickly, with the large districts still figuring out next steps.

Photo via Pixabay

Arlington ISD says it will begin online-only on Aug. 17, as recommended by the health department. After a month, the district will re-evaluate leaving the start of in-person learning undecided. The news was announced Wednesday after the school board heard from a dozen concerned parents.

Fort Worth ISD will meet for an emergency meeting Thursday at 8 a.m.

Tarrant County districts were set to start virtual learning August 17, and in-person instruction for those who chose it on September 28, in accordance with a county public health declaration. But they are abruptly changing gears after Tuesday’s opinion from AG Paxton, which said local health authorities do not have the power to delay the start of school to prevent future COVID-19 outbreaks.

RELATED: Texas AG: Local health authorities may not close all schools to prevent COVID-19

Smaller Tarrant County districts, like Mansfield ISD, determined a plan within hours of the new state guidance.

All students will start learning virtually August 12, and those opting for in-person class will return to campus September 8.

Stephanie Proctor is a working mom in Mansfield, dealing with the back and forth decision-making for back to school.

“People have already made plans for their children,” she said.

Proctor’s daughter goes to Summit High School.

On Tuesday night following the AG’s opinion, Mansfield ISD changed course and is now starting virtually on Aug. 12. On Sept. 8, students can start attending in person.

Mansfield ISD Superintendent Kimberly Cantu explained what guided their thinking at Tuesday night’s board meeting.

“I want you guys to know, as a board, every decision we’ve made, we’ve tried to make it based on data, and the data has been changing, but we tried to make it on data,” she said.

Dr. Cantu says that was based on parent surveys, data and, in part, on funding.

“TEA also came out and said they were respecting and honoring Ken Paxton’s opinion. And so if you choose to stay remote and completely virtual, based on a local order, then funding will be in question again,” she said.

White Settlement ISD said it will be going with its previous plan to start in-person and virtual learning, depending on what families choose, on September 9.

Kelller ISD has a similar setup, except its start date for in-person and virtual learning is August 19.

Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD will start remote and in-person leaning August 20.

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