The Dallas Independent School District last night published a dashboard that will allow you to monitor the prevalence of COVID-19 by school, ZIP code, and trustee district. It’s easy to use and contains simple visuals to go with the numbers. At lunchtime on Friday, there were 39 total cases districtwide. Of those, 30 are students and nine are staff.
It was released in time for the first day that students can begin returning to campuses, which will happen on Monday. Some special education students have already returned. Elementary and middle schools will open for five-day schedules while high schools will have a hybrid arrangement that will stagger students.
As reported by our sister publication People Newspapers—special shout out to Bethany Erickson, who stuck with it into the wee hours of the morning to cover last night’s school board meeting—the only elementary school that will be on a hybrid schedule will be Lakewood Elementary. That’s a size issue; most elementary and middle schools have enough room to safely house the kids. Not the case in high schools.
If you’re starting at a new school—so pre-K, kindergarten, six graders, and ninth graders—you have the option to begin September 28. Otherwise, October 5 is your start date. And parents will surely keep their eyes on the dashboard. The district’s map isn’t listing the correct school with its location, so, for instance, know that Seagoville Middle School isn’t the campus with three cases north of 635. The district is working to fix that. But while the individual cases at each school are not correct, but the total for the district is.
Obviously, public health experts are nervously watching the numbers. As Will Maddox reported earlier this week, the current seven-day average for new cases is at 240, down from 279 the week prior.
“There’s definitely some COVID fatigue,” said Dr. Philip Huang, the head of Dallas County Health and Human Services. “Simultaneously, the governor is starting to open up some things, and the schools. All of it can contribute to some relapsing. People need to be able to keep staying the course on this as much as they can.”
Statewide, there are currently 3,445 student cases and 2,850 staff cases at public school districts. The Texas Education Agency updates its dashboard every Wednesday.