This story has been updated to include information on the Aug. 12 Dallas County mask mandate.

Richardson ISD is offering a temporary virtual classroom options for students in grade 6 and under for the 2021-22 academic year.

This option will be open until a COVID-19 vaccine is widely available for people under the age of 12, the district shared in an Aug. 9 update.

Enrollment for the virtual learning option will open between noon Aug. 10 and noon Aug. 13. Parents of enrolled RISD students in eligible grades will receive an email with a link and instructions to take part in virtual learning. Families that are not yet enrolled must complete enrollment first. The virtual classroom option is also only available to students whose primary residence is located within RISD boundaries.

Those who choose virtual learning will start school Aug. 23, a week delayed from the district’s first day of school Aug. 17. Virtual students will also engage in school work both synchronously and asynchronously, the district shared. A majority of the learning will be self-paced, with support from a virtual teacher.

A virtual option is not available for students in 7-12 grades.

Following a new mask mandate from Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins, masks will be required on inside RISD schools and buildings, as well as at any district indoor events, for all people older than 2 years old. This will apply to students, teachers, employees and visitors on the first day of school, Aug. 17.

Richardson ISD shared its back to school safety plan, The Blueprint, earlier this month. The Blueprint has been updated to include Aug. 5 guidance from the Texas Education Agency, which requires schools to report confirmed cases of COVID-19 to notify local and  health departments.

The guidance does not require schools to contact trace cases, but RISD will be tracing and notifying close contacts. Any student or staff member who tests positive for COVID-19 will be sent home for 10 days. But students and staff who are identified as close contacts will not be excluded or quarantined from school or work unless they choose to.

The district will provide weekly updates on positive cases with a campus-level breakdown.