EPISD: Students could begin phased-in return to campus after MLK Jr. holiday

According to officials with the El Paso Independent School District, students in the could begin a phased-in return to on-campus instruction starting on January 19, following a continued decline in hospitalization and infection rates in the city.

Monday, officials with the City of El Paso Department of Public Health issued its recommendations to area school districts regarding beginning on-campus instruction following the winter break.

The current hospitalization rates (below 20 percent for at least seven consecutive days) in El Paso County place the region under the Orange Zone of the Reopening Plan approved by the Texas Education Agency.

The approved plan allows for the gradual return to campuses for students whose parents have opted to send their children to in-person instruction. EPISD continues to offer parents the choice to continue distance learning.

The city’s health department recommends that districts not begin their phase-in of campus instruction until after the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday in order to monitor a potential spike in infection and hospitalization rates following the holiday break.

The city also made the following recommendations that will be followed by EPISD, as available:

• The vaccination of school nurses and health assistants against COVID-19 under the state’s Phase 1a, second tier plan.
• The vaccination of teachers and qualified staff against COVID-19 under the state’s Phase 1b plan.
• Rapid testing for COVID-19 for teachers and staff, prioritizing those who show symptoms.
• The continued review and update of infection control protocols at campuses and facilities.

“EPISD will announce further details of return in the coming days as it continues to monitor health condition,” district officials shared. “The finalized plans will be communicated with parents via email, social media, text messaging, media and telephone calls.”