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Local COVID Spike Is Why In-Person School Is Delayed, Fort Worth ISD Superintendent Tells Parents

A photo of a school bus

In a town hall Zoom meeting Tuesday, Fort Worth school district Superintendent Kent Scribner defended his decision to delay in-person learning, stressing the need to cut the number of COVID-19 cases first.

Scribner told parents during the virtual meeting that the only way he'll feel safe opening school to in-person learning is with a reduction in the local spike.

He said teachers, parents and students want face-to-face learning because that's when school works best. But he said the seven-day rolling average for positive cases is too high.

For example, he said that New York is at 1%, so schools there will open.

"In Texas, unfortunately, our seven-day rolling average was 17% last Friday. Today it's hovering around 20%. Here in Tarrant County, we’re somewhere between 11% and 12%," he said.

As of now, Fort Worth will start school Sept. 8, online only.

Fort Worth Trustee Anne Darr said that's too risky for in-person learning.

"We want to make sure that in-person learning happens when it can be sustained, that we're not opening up schools for in-person learning only to have to shut them two days later, two weeks later," she said. "The community spread is such that we have not managed to get it contained."

Scribner said he continually consults with county health officials to assess the safest time to restart in-person classes. As of now, Fort Worth will start school Sept. 8, online only.

Bill Zeeble has been a full-time reporter at KERA since 1992, covering everything from medicine to the Mavericks and education to environmental issues.