COVID-19 Pandemic

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RISD Implementing Updated Quarantine Options for Exposed Students/Staff

In early December, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) issued updated options for people who are quarantined after exposure to a positive case of COVID-19. The updated federal guidelines include direction to seek guidance from local public health authorities, and RISD has consulted with Dallas County Health and Human Services. As a result, RISD is in the process of implementing new quarantine options for students/staff identified as exposed to a positive case of COVID-19 while participating in an in-person school activity. The new quarantine options apply to people who have been exposed, but are not symptomatic or have not tested positive.

Applying the updated CDC options and based on direction from our local Dallas County public health authority, RISD is implementing the following two new options:

  • For exposed students and staff without symptoms, quarantine can end after completion of 10 quarantine days. Students and staff would be able to return to school/work on day 11 after exposure. This new option provides a shortened quarantine period from the 14 quarantine days that RISD has utilized so far during the pandemic.
  • School district employees may choose to return to work after completion of 7 quarantine days provided they meet the required criteria. The guidance from the Dallas County health authority is clear that this option should only be available to employees, in their role as essential workers. The criteria required for employees to choose this option include:
    • No COVID-19 symptoms at all during the first seven days of quarantine
    • Employees receive a negative PCR test (not rapid antigen) result that was administered between days 5-7 from the date of exposure

Every person who returns to school/work under a revised quarantine option must continue diligent daily symptom monitoring through day 14, strictly adhere to RISD’s social distancing and infection mitigation strategies, not attend an in-person school activity is symptoms develop and immediately report any symptoms to the school nurse (parents/students) or their supervisor (employees).

These updated quarantine options for exposed, asymptomatic people are optional. The CDC continues to recommend a 14-day quarantine as the most cautious approach if a person has been in close contact with someone who is positive for COVID-19 since the disease has an incubation period up to 14 days. Accordingly, under the updated guidelines, RISD parents and employees may choose for their quarantine period to remain at 14 days if desired.

More information about RISD’s response to the pandemic is available on the COVID-19 Information site.

Superintendent's Update

Click here to watch the December 16 Superintendent’s Update. Highlights include:

  • RISD is implementing optional quarantine guidelines for students and staff who are exposed to a positive case at school but not experiencing any symptoms. The optional guidelines were published by the CDC earlier this month, and the Dallas County health authority recently provided clarification and guidance that RISD is moving forward to adopt.
  • The new optional guidelines include a shortened quarantine period for students and staff who are exposed but feeling fine, and an additional option for employees to return to work more quickly if they meet certain requirements, including a negative PCR test.
  • 2020 has been an extremely challenging year for many people, not the least of which are school district employees and classroom teachers. As one way to thank educators and staff members who have met the unique challenges of operating during the pandemic, the RISD Board of Trustees on Monday approved a one-time $750 retention stipend for full time teachers and staff who have been with RISD from the beginning of the year through January.
  • Have a safe and restful winter break. Staff return on January 4 and second semester classes begin for students on January 5.

Dr. Stone has offered updates on RISD’s planning and response throughout the pandemic. Previous messages can be found here.

New CDC Quarantine Guidelines

The district is currently evaluating the new quarantine guidelines recently published by the CDC and will be sharing updated information on how they apply to our current district health and safety protocols shortly. At this time, our quarantine process remains unchanged.

Return to In-Person Instruction Announced; Grades PK-6 Returning September 8

August 24

At the August 24 Board meeting, Dr. Stone announced RISD’s plan to return to face to face instruction. Families who have chosen in-person school will return to classrooms on a staggered schedule between September 8 and September 21, based on grade level. The decision was made based on a variety of factors and recommendations.

  • Students in grades PK-6 and Centralized Special Education Programs whose parents have chosen face to face instruction will resume in-person instruction on Tuesday, September 8.
  • Students in grades 7-8 whose parents have chosen face to face instruction will resume in-person instruction on Monday, September 14.
  • Students in grades 9-12 whose parents have chosen face to face instruction will resume in-person instruction on Monday, September 21.
  • Students whose parents have chosen virtual instruction will continue to receive virtual instruction in the same format that they have since school began on August 19.
  • In advance of each nine-week grading period, every student and family will have an opportunity to choose to continue in their current learning framework or transition to the other option.

Learn more in Dr. Stone’s August 24 letter to the Richardson ISD School Community     |     En Español

Welcome Back To School

August 18

Please click here to watch the August 18 superintendent’s update from Dr. Stone. Highlights include:

  • The first days of school will be focused on connections, learning and orienting to virtual processes, and ensuring students have everything they need to be successful.
  • RISD has never started a school year virtually, and teams of employees have been working throughout the summer to prepare. Patience and understanding among everyone involved will go a long way toward a great first week as everyone becomes familiar with not just returning to school, but doing so virtually.
  • District staff are working very hard to prepare schools for face to face instruction on September 8. Following the health and safety protocols in place will be critical to ensure that once in-person learning begins, it can continue safely.
  • Dr. Stone will be discussing more about how RISD will approach the return to in-person instruction at the August 24 Board of Trustees meeting.
  • Students, teachers, parents and staff – We’ve Got This!

Dr. Stone has provided weekly updates throughout the pandemic. Previous messages can be found here.

Superintendent Update - Start of School FAQs

August 13

Please click here to watch the August 13 superintendent’s update from Dr. Stone. Highlights include:

  • What parents can expect when school begins on August 19 with virtual instruction for all students.
  • Class schedules are being finalized and expected to be available Monday (August 17).
  • Schools continue to connect with parents about start of school details and any technology needs. Parents who still require a student device or need home internet for virtual instruction should contact their school.
  • Students should power up and connect their iPads & Chromebooks to the Internet before August 19 so devices can update to be ready for virtual instruction.
  • All RISD teachers will be using Google Classroom as the primary hub to share information with students and parents.
  • RISD is in the final phases of developing a Parent Corner website on risd.org that will provide information and tutorial videos to help parents support their students during virtual learning. The Parent Corner website is expected to be live on August 17.
  • RISD will be hosting a series of virtual sessions for parents on different topics through the RISD Parent University. Sessions will occur through August and September, and touch on topics ranging from understanding virtual learning platforms, helping students learn at home, and how to access student grades, attendance and progress through Focus, among other topics.
  • An explanation of what a virtual school day will look like for students.
  • Curbside meal service will be offered for virtual students starting August 19.

Dr. Stone has provided weekly updates throughout the pandemic. Previous messages can be found here.

Superintendent Update - Parent Instructional Decision Deadline, Risk Level Metrics, Celebrations

Updated August 10

Please click here to watch the August 6 superintendent’s update from Dr. Stone. Highlights include:

  • The deadline for the formal instructional selection decision (virtual or in-person) for parents to make for each enrolled student was Thursday, August 6.
  • Parents were are strongly encouraged to review RISD’s back to school blueprint and FAQs for plans for details about each instructional model to help them make the instructional choice that is best for their family.
  • RISD is continuing efforts to develop sensible and usable risk level metrics, specific to RISD, to aid in making decisions. As those are being developed, the district will continue to rely upon guidance from health experts, as the district has done throughout the pandemic.
  • RISD central and campus staff members are fully engaged in preparations for the start of school. RISD welcomed more than 300 new teachers to orientations, professional development, and welcome events.
  • Congratulations to RISD’s own Helen Arceneaux. The Liberty JH teacher was named last week as the Region 10 secondary teacher of the year and is moving on to represent Richardson ISD and the more than 55,000 teachers in north Texas Region 10 school districts in the Texas teacher of the year process. Way to go Helen!

Dr. Stone has provided weekly updates throughout the pandemic. Previous messages can be found here.

Superintendent Update - Formal Instructional Commitment Process Now Open

July 30

Please click here to watch Dr. Stone’s weekly superintendent’s update. Highlights include:

  • RISD will continue to follow the expert guidance from Dallas County Health and Human Services, and the plan for the start of school has not changed.
  • RISD will begin school with 100% virtual instruction on August 19 and currently plans to transition to in-person instruction on September 8 for those families choosing that option.
  • The process for parents to formally commit to either virtual instruction or in-person instruction for the 2020-21 school year has now opened. Parents were sent an email message with a customized link for each enrolled child at the primary email address provided upon enrollment.
  • Parents are strongly encouraged to review RISD’s back to school blueprint for plans for details about each instructional model to help them make the instructional choice that is best for their family.
  • Parents who cannot locate the commitment process email should check their spam/junk filters and folders. Parents can verify their email address by contacting their child’s school, and may be referred for support at learning model@g.risd.org.
  • The process is open through Thursday, August 6 and parents will be able to change their choice in advance of each new grading period.
  • All enrolled families will also be receiving information from their campus as part of back to school planning to re-verify their access to technology in advance of the virtual instruction beginning August 19.
  • RISD requires adults and students to possess and wear a face covering inside schools when in-person learning resumes. RISD will provide face coverings, or parents can provide their own for students. Some exceptions can apply, and parents can review the blueprint for details.
  • Parents selecting in-person instruction are encouraged to begin working with their children now to get them used to face coverings and choose a mask that works best for them.
  • RISD teachers are caring, committed professionals. They will be well-prepared to teach children, virtually and in-person, when school begins.

Dr. Stone has provided weekly updates throughout the pandemic. Previous messages can be found here.

Back To School Blueprint finalized

July 24

RISD’s back to school blueprint and information is now available for families and stakeholders to review. The information provides comprehensive information about RISD’s back to school plans, health and safety precautions, and options for all enrolled families.

Please click here to watch Dr. Stone’s weekly update that discusses the blueprint, instructional choices for families, and next steps.

Beginning the week of July 27, parents of enrolled students will receive emailed information from RISD about how to formally choose the type of instruction they would like for their children. Parents are strongly encouraged to review the back to school blueprint and FAQs in order to make an informed decision.

RISD will begin the school year on August 19 with virtual instruction for all students. In-person instruction is currently expected to begin September 8 for families that choose an in-person option.

The district will continue to monitor and adapt to ongoing changes in guidance and requirements from the state of Texas and public health authorities.

Dallas County orders school closures; RISD to begin school year with fully virtual instruction.

July 16

On July 16, Dallas County ordered school districts in Dallas County, which includes all RISD schools, to immediately discontinue in-person student activities until after Labor Day. Based on the order and state guidance, RISD will be joining neighboring North Texas school districts to offer instruction 100% virtually at the start of the school year, with in-person instruction beginning in September.

Watch Dr. Stone discuss the new guidance and RISD’s all-virtual start to school in this Superintendent update.

“We appreciate this clear direction for RISD teachers, students and parents,” said Superintendent Dr. Jeannie Stone. “This path maximizes safety for our teachers and students, and by extension our community, while allowing us to start school on time.”

RISD still plans to begin school on Wednesday, August 19. All instruction will take place virtually for the first three weeks of school, with in-person classes now tentatively scheduled to begin Tuesday, September 8. It’s possible that the start of in-person instruction could be delayed further if public health authorities order school closures past September 7.

“Delaying the start of in-person school will, foremost, provide more time for the spread of the virus in Dallas County to slow from the current rate that is stressing our healthcare system and essential workers,” said Stone. “In addition, it will allow all teachers and students to gain necessary experience with how virtual instruction will work. This experience will be critical in the event of in-person closures that may occur later in the school year that could require a quick shift to virtual instruction for a classroom, a school, or even multiple schools.”

RISD is still planning to finalize and publish its reopening plan next week. After the comprehensive plan and information is published, the opportunity will open for RISD parents the following week to formally choose the type of instruction, in-person or virtual, for their children for the 2020-21 school year when in-person classes eventually begin.

RISD provided hundreds of Internet hotspots and student devices in the spring to families to help facilitate at-home learning. Families enrolled for 2020-21 who do not have a student device or Internet access to begin the year with virtual instruction should contact their school front office to arrange for equipment check out, including a hot spot.

Dallas County order cancels remaining RISD in-person summer activities, including July 18 ACT test

July 16

Dallas County has ordered all in-person school-related activities and extra-curricular activities to discontinue in Dallas County, effective immediately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This impacts all RISD athletics and fine arts camps, clinics, programs, workshops and any other in-person RISD activity involving students. The order is currently effective through Labor Day, and therefore all remaining in-person summer RISD extra-curricular activities are canceled.

The July 18 ACT test at Richardson High School has been canceled. Richardson ISD has contacted ACT and made them aware of the testing center closure. Students who previously registered to the take the ACT test on July 18 who would like to inquire about a testing refund or register for a future ACT test, may visit www.ACT.org.


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