Local School Districts Go Virtual for Summer Activities


Summer Activities Are Adapting

Learning to adapt has become a part of life during these days of COVID-19, and summer activities within school districts is no different.

School districts have all but abandoned in-person activities for students this summer, with many adopting virtual activities.

“Like many other school districts throughout the region, we are evaluating the safest way to reopen our facilities and monitoring the trending information provided by local and state health authorities,” Duncanville Chief Communications Officer Tiara Richard said.

As for sports camps, or anything that could involve physical contact of any kind, they’re a no-no. Many academic programs will continue to be held – virtually, of course.

Working on plans for fall

“While the majority of students are out for summer and our employees are no longer working on campus, we will continue to utilize virtual learning for summer school and develop a plan to reopen for the upcoming school year,” Richard said.

At Cedar Hill, traditional summer school, Gifted and Talented Camp, fine arts camps, and summer bridge programs have been canceled, as have all sports camps. However, academic acceleration programs that are federally mandated will occur virtually, said Assistant Superintendent of Academics Charlotte Ford.

Ford also said the grant-funded Career and Technical Education Camp will be held July 14-23. However, it will be virtual as well.

Some districts, such as Grand Prairie and Midlothian, are hosting virtual versions of Camp Invention, a STEM projects program. It gives the opportunity to become innovators through teamwork and immersive, hands-on problem solving.

GPISD Emphasizes Continuous Learning

“In GPISD, we believe learning is a continuous cycle. In the summer, it is critically important for us to provide opportunities for our students to continue their learning through camps and various enrichment opportunities,” Grand Prairie ISD Executive Director of Academic Curriculum and Instruction Angela Herron said.

“Fortunately, technology provides us the opportunity to continue to provide these wonderful experiences and stay connected to our students. Most importantly, the use of technology in our virtual camps and enrichment opportunities allows us to interact with our students in new and relevant methods that will most definitely be a part of the world they are expected to lead in the future.”

DeSoto, likewise, is hosting virtual models for academic and enrichment camps. A DeSoto ISD employee will also be on all of the virtual platforms offered.

In a public statement, Grant Project Director Jereese Johnson and Director of Career and Technical Education for DeSoto ISD stated, “In an effort to keep everyone safe and healthy, as a district it was decided that virtual camps is the best model for the summer. We still wanted to offer our students an opportunity to enhance their learning and remain safe at the same time.”

Mansfield, Waxahachie and Venus make camps virtual

Mansfield has also canceled all in-person summer activities but is offering virtual educational options. Waxahachie has no virtual activities planned, and all other activities are currently on hold. Venus has canceled all of its summer camps.

In places such as Red Oak and Midlothian, strength and conditioning activities are still being held, under close monitoring.

“Students will be verbally screened for symptoms, equipment will be wiped down regularly. We will address individual concerns on an individual basis,” Red Oak Executive Director of Communications Beth Trimble said.

While Midlothian has canceled sports camps for June, the rest of the summer is still up in the air, Assistant Superintendent Karen Fitzgerald said.

“We are continuing to monitor the situation to see if this should apply for July camps,” Fitzgerald said.

And should parents opt to look into non-school camps, Ford offers some simple advice.

“We encourage all parents who explore non-CHISD summer camps, especially in-person camps, to ensure that they comply with safety and social distancing guidelines,” she said.

Previous articleDallas County Reports 254 New COVID-19 Cases
Next articleGrand Prairie ISD Deputy Steps Up After Superintendent’s Death
Rick Mauch
Rick Mauch is a veteran of more than four decades in the media. He began writing in high school and immediately went into broadcasting for almost a decade after graduating, working his way to morning drive in Birmingham, Alabama. However, realizing how much he missed writing (though he did continue to do some during his time in top-40 radio), Rick returned to what he loved and has been doing it ever since. Rick's career has spanned a plethora of media outlets, including community journalism, sports, entertainment, politics and more. He's worked in print, broadcast and online media. He also spent several years doing public relations for a children's home in East Texas - still writing on the side, of course. When he's not writing, Rick loves to play golf and do Bigfoot research. He's an avid believer. He also made his first hole-in-one in June of 2020. Rick is married to Junell Mauch. They have five children and three granddaughters