Concern for in-person learning at school grows as COVID-19 cases rise in Dallas and Tarrant County.
Hotchkiss Elementary in northeast Dallas is reopening for in-person learning starting Monday. The school was closed last week after seven staff members tested positive for the virus.
On Friday, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said that this county is back in the red threat level with all case numbers going in the wrong direction.
Dallas County's Public Health and Education Committee advised that all students learn virtually in areas declared as the high-risk red zone, but Dallas ISD said it would continue to offer in-person learning.
Philip Huang, county's health director, said that he is impressed by how schools have implemented virtual and in-person learning following safety guidelines. Still, if students are learning in-person, the school must take the guidelines very seriously.
Huang said, "One of the things I think we've seen is the athletic programs, some clusters associated with that and sometimes it's not during the actual play of the athletic event but maybe the locker room situation and some socializing that occurs afterward."
"You have to be vigilant throughout all these settings for it to work," he added.
Last week, Tarrant County's health director recommended virtual learning only. The website of the county lists COVID-19 as a "substantial community spread level."
Despite this, Fort Worth ISD, like most other school districts, is maintaining a hybrid option.
From the latest UT Southwestern researchers' latest model, we can see that the number of cases increased –approx. 1,250 new infections per day expected by the end of October in Dallas County and roughly 1,100 in Tarrant County.
Dallas ISD's COVID-19 dashboard also reported 278 cases as of Friday, and 146 of them are students.