Following the lead of Dallas County, several North Texas school districts have delayed the start of in-person classes until September over fears of the Chinese coronavirus.

Frisco Independent School District announced on Thursday the first three weeks of its 2020-2021 school year will be “in a completely virtual environment for all students.”

Superintendents at Allen ISD, Plano ISD, and McKinney ISD followed suit on Friday, announcing students will not have access to in-person learning until at least early September and must rely on remote, online-only instruction. Lovejoy ISD announced its delayed start of face-to-face teaching on Wednesday.

“While we completely respect and appreciate the desire for in-person instruction, we have decided to begin school with virtual instruction until the public health situation improves. Our goal is to begin offering on-campus instruction on September 3,” said McKinney ISD Superintendent Rick McDaniel.

Students’ first day of virtual school and expected date of transition to on-campus classroom learning varies by district.

On Thursday, Dallas County Health and Human Services Director Dr. Philip Huang issued an order banning on-campus, face-to-face classes at all the county’s pre-kindergarten through grade 12 schools, public and private, through September 7.

Last week, the Texas Education Agency issued guidance that schools “must provide daily on-campus attendance for students” as well as offer “virtual instruction.”

Today, TEA updated its guidelines for the 2020-2021 school year to apply “regardless of whether a school system starts at the date currently planned or the local school board votes to change the school system’s calendar to delay the start of the school year” and extended from three to eight weeks the amount of time districts may limit on-campus instruction.

Erin Anderson

Erin Anderson is a Senior Journalist for Texas Scorecard, reporting on state and local issues, events, and government actions that impact people in communities throughout Texas and the DFW Metroplex. A native Texan, Erin grew up in the Houston area and now lives in Collin County.