Photo courtesy IDEA El Paso
Wednesday afternoon, officials with IDEA Public Schools announced their Start Strong 2020 Plan, the district’s guidelines for the 2020-2021 school year.
After receiving an updates from the Texas Education Agency and receiving input from over 4,000 of its parents, IDEA officials announced that IDEA El Paso’s first day of school will be August 3 to align with neighboring school districts.
IDEA will be adopting an updated calendar that will have fall and spring intersession breaks. In the event that schools must make up for lost days of instruction, these extra days will be leveraged.
“Safety has always been important to us at IDEA Public Schools, but this year, it’s even more important,” says JoAnn Gama, CEO and Superintendent of IDEA Public Schools. “We know the decision to send your child to school this year is a difficult one, and we want our parents to know that we are implementing measures to ensure students and staff are protected and the needs of our entire community are considered.”
In conjunction with state and federal agencies, IDEA officials shared that they are “closely monitoring the evolving pandemic and the impact it will have on next school year”
As students return to school on August 3, IDEA families will have the option to either receive instruction online only or participate in in-person instruction, as specified by the campus.
IDEA parents shared their feedback in preliminary conversations, but IDEA will now offer two learning paths, and would like to hear from families once more. All IDEA families will receive a letter this week via email and text with instructions on how to provide their feedback.
Schools will be following up with individual families to learn preferences in July.
For those families who will join physically, IDEA has increased its safety precautions to protect students and staff while in their care.
Starting in August:
⦁ Arrive during an assigned, staggered drop-off time to avoid crowding.
⦁ Wear a mask during the morning screening and transition procedure. If they don’t have one from home, IDEA will provide two cloth masks per student.
⦁ Have their temperature checked by IDEA staff wearing a mask.
⦁ Be asked to clean their hands before entering the building at a hand hygiene station.
⦁ Walk to their classroom wearing a mask provided by IDEA or brought from home.
While in classrooms:
⦁ Classrooms will be limited to small groups as designated by CDC Guidelines.
⦁ Have an assigned seat with a state-of-the-art plexiglass guard for safety.
⦁ Enjoy their classroom lessons and meals while not rotating.
⦁ Be taught by passionate educators who will wear masks during 1:1 conversation, but not during whole group instruction.
⦁ Have multiple hand hygiene breaks built into their day
“IDEA Public Schools is pleased to announce increased support to students by providing personal technology devices to all scholars enrolled at IDEA. This includes computers or tablets at no cost to families,” school district officials added.
“This addition to IDEA’s instructional model will supplement the instructional option parents choose for August of 2020. IDEA believes this increased access to technology will provide continuity of learning during this period of uncertainty.”