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With In-Person Classes Still Up In The Air, Dallas Schools Continue Handing Out Laptops, Tablets

The Dallas school district continued handing out more than 50,000 computer tablets or laptops to students Monday. That's in case the first day of school on September 8 is taught online only.

José "Joe" May Elementary school in Northwest Dallas is just one of many sites where parents and students were picking up equipment this week.

COVID-19 forced school online last spring, and put some parents, like single mom Vette Kennard in a bind. She had to do her job of processing government forms while managing school for her four children, all at home.

“This year will be more relaxed because we’re not having to think of new things within the blink of an eye,” Kennard said. “You know, this happened so quickly in March. Now we have time. Making it work, absolutely.”

Kennard has safety concerns and wants her kids to continue learning at home. That’s not universal.  Hazel Meza, 11, wants to get back to the classroom. She's a sixth grader at May Elementary, and speaks for her mother, who’s only fluent in Spanish.

In online and the internet, teachers don’t explain things — only on videos,"Hazel said. "Some kids don’t understand it. It’s more better in school, because teachers explain to kids how to do their work.”

Credit Bill Zeeble / KERA News
Rosseven Nava is the principal at Jose "Joe" May Elementary School in Dallas. Nava's first year was 2019. Within months, COVID-19 closed schools worldwide. As school gets ready for another year, she feels better prepared

Principal Rosseven Nava said her school will be prepared for online learning, face to face classes or both.

“Whatever decision the district has to make, we’re going to be ready and the district has been able to provide that for each and every student so they can learn virtually,” Nava said.

Dallas Superintendent Michael Hinojosa has said he’ll decide later this week when students will return to the classroom. 

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