‘And it’s just been real eye opening to see how we’ve done things different than other schools…’
Administrators at a school near Dallas say students in their district are excelling academically – and it’s likely because they never imposed lockdowns or shut down schools.
Officials at the Peaster Independent School District in Parker County say they never required masks, socially distanced students or canceled events.
“No one has been placed into a mandatory quarantine,” reports CBS DFW.
“Homecoming happened on schedule.”
“The pancake dinner, fall festival, sports and concerts all took place as planned.”
When Gov. Greg Abbott recently rescinded a statewide mask ordinance, the district didn’t send out an email to parents – because masks at the school were voluntary.
The weird social experiment of normality has led to higher enrollment and daily attendance, with students actually passing on to the next grade, as opposed to failing due to “distance learning.”
“Our kids have thrived and our teachers have thrived,” said Superintendent Lance Johnson. “And it’s just been real eye opening to see how we’ve done things different than other schools.”
Johnson says after initially trying out distance learning, parents were polled and an overwhelming 86% favored a school model closest to the traditional model.
“Our teachers and our school board and our community just stood in solidarity to say you know what, we’re going to do what’s best for kids,” Johnson told CBS DFW. “And what’s best for kids is having them in school, learning, in a traditional school model.”
When school returned last fall, it started on time in August, there was no Covid outbreak, and kids not wearing masks weren’t questioned or harassed.
“Anyone who did not [wear a mask], was assumed to be exercising an allowed medical or religious exemption,” CBS DFW notes.
Likewise, teachers have merely had about a dozen absences more than the same period in 2019.
The district kept its approach despite being pressured by the media, parents and the Texas Education Agency, which filed a complaint last July.
“The Weatherford Democrat reported in October the agency reviewed the complaint and took no action on it,” reports CBS DFW.
While many criticize the district’s dismissal of the Covid-19 threat, Superintendent Johnson says you can’t argue with results.
“18 months ago what we’re doing to kids would’ve been criminal,” he said. “And here we are fighting going back to that model, fighting letting kids be kids, and letting kids socialize and letting them have a normal school year.”