Both Sherman and Denison Independent School districts plan to offer students the opportunity to return to the classroom for courses this fall. Over the past week, both districts have released their formalized plans for students to return to schools starting in August, following closures in March due to the coronavirus.

The plans come as the state has given further guidance this week on plan to reopen schools across the state. On Tuesday, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said that local health authorities cannot force schools to close down. Instead, this decision will be left to officials at each public and private school, he said.

Here are five things to know about Sherman and Denison’s plans to return to the classroom:

1. Students will wear masks on campus

When students go back to the classroom in both districts, they will be required to wear masks while on campus. Sherman ISD will be requiring all students, regardless of grade level to wear cloth face coverings, while Denison will require all students in the first grade or above to do so.

Exceptions will be made for students who have existing conditions that prevent them from wearing masks.

2. Taking steps for allow social distancing

Both districts will also be taking steps to to allow students remain distant from each other while at school.

Denison officials said Monday that the district hopes to be able to have enough space in classrooms to move desks away from each other.

Meanwhile, Sherman’s plan also recommends alternative routes for students to take during transition periods, including outdoor walkways.

3. Both districts in-person and at-home options

When school starts in August, some students in both districts will begin their studies from home. Both districts will allow students to opt in for distance learning at the start of the school year as an alternative for in-person courses.

Sherman will allow students to opt back into in-person courses every nine weeks, while Denison is asking families to commit to six weeks.

4. Parents play a role no matter what

Parents will play a role in preventing the spread of the disease in both plans.

Both districts are asking parents to assess their students for any of the symptoms of the infection prior to sending them to school each day. This includes checking for a fever above 100 degrees.

5. Plans are about more than the classroom

Both plans include guidelines for safely transportation students to and from campus. Sherman ISD will have assigned seating for students on district buses, with only two students allowed on each seat.

Denison will be reducing the number of students on buses by doubling up on some routes to spread riders across two buses.

Michael Hutchins is the local government reporter for the Herald Democrat. He can be reached at