Dublin ISD among first in Texas to open school

Ashley Inge

Dublin ISD reportedly had one of the earliest start dates in the state of Texas, choosing to open on Monday, Aug. 3.

“It was a decision we made back in April and May when we were developing the calendar,” Dublin ISD Superintendent Rodney Schneider said. “We wanted to get our kids back as fast as possible. The longer kids are out, the more they forget. As we got closer, we kept analyzing that day. The last six weeks, seven weeks before we started, I think we had meetings at least once a week to say, ‘Are we committed? Is this what’s best?’ We really analyzed right up to that Friday before we started. We had our last meeting and we said, ‘Are we ready to go?’ And we came to the conclusion that we were. It was something we analyzed continually throughout the summer.”

Students and parents had the option of doing in-person or remote learning. Out of 1,200 students, about 170 chose to stay home.

The district is also asking every student to do remote learning every Monday.

“We do four days of in-person and remote, and Mondays, every kid is a remote learner. The side effect to that is, we’re trying to get training in just in case. If we have a complete shutdown again, all of our kids have been exposed to online learning and all of our teachers have been exposed to online learning, so we feel like it would be an easier transition should the worst-case scenario happen,” Schneider said.

Dublin ISD requires every student to wear a mask, as young as second grade. The E-T asked Schneider how students have adapted to the mask rule and he said they have done a great job adhering to the new rules.

“We’ve got some pretty stringent guidelines...above and beyond what the CDC and the state requires, but they’ve done phenomenal,” he said. “We’ve been very pleased and very proud of our kids on how well they’ve adapted to it.”

Dublin ISD decided to incorporate the rule of taking temperatures of every staff member and student before allowing them inside the school.

“We just felt like that additional step, that additional five to 10 minutes time in the morning gives us a little more protection, a little more security,” Schneider said.

The district also adapted a rigorous cleaning program to minimize the spread of infection.

“If there was a kid in there who had a cough or something, we go in and do a deep cleaning on that room. We don’t wait for a positive diagnosis; if we suspect there might be a problem, we go in and do a deep cleaning,” he said.

The community supported the district’s decision to open early and also pitched in to provide students with school supplies.

“We know how hard COVID has been financially on people. We tell our kids all they need to do is come in with a smile and we give them a backpack full of supplies,” Schneider added. “Getting the community’s support, the teachers’ support and the collaboration to do it safely for the kids is what’s essential.”