Photo courtesy of Dallas ISD.

As the 2021-22 school year begins for Dallas ISD, the district is taking steps to help keep staff and students safe.

There will be rapid COVID-19 tests available for students and staff at all campuses, DISD announced. Test results are returned in about 15 minutes, and school nurses or a trained campus employee will administer the test. Students younger than 18 will need parent permission to get tested. Find the permission form here.

DISD can’t mandate mask-wearing because of Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order banning government officials from doing so. However, the district is recommending face coverings for all people. Masks and hand sanitizer will also be available at all campuses.

The district is asking staff and students to take their temperature at home before coming to school. There will be no temperature checks on campus.

Vaccines will still be available for students and staff eligible for them. Contact tracing and enhanced cleaning and ventilation will continue.

These measures come as Dallas County health officials raised the COVID-19 risk level to red, signifying a high risk of transmission.

Five DISD schools welcomed students back to campus this week. The rest of the district returns Aug. 9 or Aug. 16, depending on which calendar the campus is using.

DISD will receive nearly $543 million in aid to be spent on pandemic recovery, which comes out to about $3,530 per student. The district and other Texas school systems are required to use the money to address students’ needs.

DISD Deputy Superintendent Susana Cordova told the Dallas Morning News there isn’t just one strategy that will be used to address students’ needs.