DALLAS (1080 KRLD) - Dallas ISD Superintendent Michael Hinojosa will host a virtual town hall Wednesday evening to answer questions about the district's budget and potential bond program.
Schools in Dallas ISD have been closed since March 16 because of COVID-19. Superintendent Michael Hinojosa says summer school will take place virtually, but a "blended model" of virtual and in-person learning is likely for the beginning of the school year in the fall.
"We were having a great year until we ran into this virus," Hinojosa says. "The tornado didn't stop us, and our staff and students really stepped up big."
Thomas Jefferson High School was one of three schools damaged by tornadoes in October. In January, the school board voted to spend $132 million to renovate the high school and rebuild two others.
"We know this has been tough on everybody, especially this class," Hinojosa says. "Think about it: this class, they were born right after 9/11. TJ Seniors were going through this year, and now, other seniors are going through this year. It's just a tough situation."
After schools were closed in March, Dallas ISD began handing out mobile hot spots to give students a way to connect to the internet for their lessons. The district says about 36,000 of its families do not have an internet connection at home. Hinojosa says Dallas ISD had given a mobile hot spot to each family who had asked, but he believes the district would need about 6,000 more to provide connectivity to everyone.
Hinojosa says the "blended model" for the fall may include distance learning for middle and high schools and in-person learning for elementary students who are too young to stay home alone. He says younger children may be sent to larger schools to spread them out.
"Most of our parents are hourly workers," he says. "They have to be at their jobs. They can't work remotely. They can't be at home with their children."
The virtual meeting begins at 6 p.m. Wednesday. People can register to attend at the Dallas ISD website.