Denton ISD JW "Bill" Giese Professional Support Services Building

School buses will return en masse to Denton County streets over the next two weeks.

Nearly all public school students will be returning to classes in person for the second school year to begin during the pandemic so far.

Krum ISD will bring students back on Tuesday, Aug. 10, followed by Denton ISD on Thursday, Aug. 12, Argyle ISD on Aug. 16 and Sanger ISD on Aug. 19.

Gov. Greg Abbott isn’t allowing schools to mandate the wearing of masks, so local school districts all opted to make mask-wearing optional on campuses.

Houston ISD, the state’s largest school district, intends to vote on a mask mandate in direct opposition to Abbott’s orders, according to The Texas Tribune.

No Denton County school districts had indicated a similar intent by Friday afternoon, and Texas districts are no longer required by the state to report coronavirus infections on campus to parents.

That change was announced Thursday by the Texas Education Agency in response to the decision to relax contact tracing on campuses.

Denton ISD will be one of the few districts in the state to operate an entirely online school year for students through eighth grade whose families would rather keep them at home, although the registration deadline was at the end of April.

Other districts had considered similar measures but changed course when the state Legislature failed to approve a funding mechanism for the virtual model.

COVID-19 vaccines have been approved for people at least 12 years old. Just under 58% of those eligible for the vaccine in Denton County were fully vaccinated by Aug. 6, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services. That surpasses the state’s rate of 53.3%.

Denton ISD will work with local health officials to “evaluate and determine cleaning and sanitizing needs,” according to its website. All four districts encouraged those on campus to vet themselves for symptoms and thoroughly wash their hands.

MARSHALL REID can be reached at 940-566-6862 and via Twitter at @MarshallKReid.

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