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Dallas ISD offers virtual academy for some elementary students

About 1,575 students have been selected to participate in Dallas ISD's new Virtual Academy. The program is offered to students age 11 and under or medically fragile.

DALLAS — A new school year is already in full swing, and school districts like Dallas ISD continue considering options for families concerned about the COVID-19 pandemic.

The school district begins its new Virtual Academy on Tuesday, Aug. 24.

Jeanette Crayton has elementary school-aged children and said she appreciates Dallas ISD is offering options as coronavirus continues to be a community concern.

“Virtual learning for parents that don’t want their kids there, that is great. Really. That is great,” Crayton said.

Dallas ISD administrators received feedback and interest from parents asking about virtual classes.

RELATED: Fort Worth ISD offering temporary virtual learning option for younger students with medical conditions

Shannon Trejo, Chief Academics Officer for Dallas ISD, described the new Virtual Academy as an investment in consistent instruction.

“We really believe that it’s in the best interest of our students and the community that we get kids in school, even if that’s in the virtual setting, and even if it’s not funded by the state,” Trejo explained.

The Virtual Academy is opening to 1,575 pre-registered students age 11 and under, and to students considered medically fragile.

Dallas ISD is paying for the Virtual Academy. Trejo said the school district is committed to a 9-week program, for now.

“Towards the end of the nine weeks, we will take a count of how circumstances are at that point, and make decisions on transitioning,” Trejo said.

Dallas ISD, like other school districts, is tracking positive COVID-19 cases this school year and reporting them to the State of Texas.

According to its online dashboard, Dallas ISD is reporting 506 positive COVID-19 cases district-wide. Among them, there are 227 campus staffers and 213 students. Data shows most of the positive cases are across elementary school campuses.

RELATED: Dallas ISD offering virtual learning option to certain students

The Virtual Academy will include instruction provided by a virtual-only teacher. Students can expect live instruction, by camera, as well as independent work.

“They’ll be in class all day. Just like they would be if they were the brick and mortar classroom,” Trejo explained.

Students in the program can’t miss more than two classes. They must also maintain at least a grade average of 70 or higher.

To learn more about Dallas ISD’s new Virtual Academy, click here.