As City/County Health officials issued an updated order for all independent school districts and private schools in El Paso County for the reopening of on-campus instruction, delaying the start of in person classes until after September 7th, local school districts have been quick to respond.
The order essentially halts all in person classes until after Labor Day, however does make note that virtual classes will be allowed per the individual school district’s plan.
Below are the statements/releases from the area’s school districts.
Due to the city’s recent public health order and in the best interest of health and safety for students and teachers, the Ysleta Independent School District will delay the start of classes for the 2020-21 school year until Monday, Aug. 17, at which point all students will begin at least three weeks of online learning at home.
“Please be assured we made this decision for the well-being of our teachers and students in order to ensure an excellent academic experience for every child,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Xavier De La Torre.
“We are continuing to finalize plans for the new school year, and over the next few weeks, our parents will continue to have the opportunity to select either face-to-face instruction or online learning for their child for the upcoming school year,” Dr. De La Torre added.
The delayed school start date will prompt two changes to Ysleta ISD’s new year-round calendar, officials said.
The first change affects the two-week break – or intersession – for students in October. Originally scheduled for Oct. 5-16, the break will now be reduced by one week and take place only from Oct. 12-16. That means classes WILL be in session from Oct. 5-9 for both online and face-to-face instruction.
In addition, Ysleta ISD will add one week to the end of the school year, and the last day of school is now Friday, June 11, 2021.
Currently, the district is continuing to provide professional development to teachers in the areas of technology and content in order to equip them with the tools to provide a quality online experience. Ysleta ISD is also enhancing its technology support to ensure all student devices are ready for online instruction, and continuing to make safety its No.1 priority by aligning safety and health protocols with state public health recommendations.
Ysleta ISD parents are being asked to reach out to the district to confirm whether their child will either return to campus for face-to-face Classroom Learning, or participate in Online Learning at home. Parents can do so by calling (915) 434-0280 and taking a brief, three-question survey.
Parents who do not complete the survey will be contacted by their child’s school over the next few weeks to confirm their choice. For more information, parents are encouraged to submit questions through the “Ask The District” tab on the main webpage at www.yisd.net.
IDEA Public Schools El Paso
IDEA Public Schools will be following the City of El Paso and State guidance regarding school opening recommendations. All IDEA campuses in El Paso will begin classes on Monday, August 17 with all students participating in distance learning until Monday, September 7.
Beginning Tuesday, September 8, parents will have the option to send their children to school, continue distance learning or switch back and forth as needed. On campus start date is subject to change based on guidance from local and state authorities.
For the upcoming school year, IDEA Public Schools will provide personal technology devices, including computers or tablets, to all scholars enrolled at IDEA campuses.
One-to-one personal technology creates opportunities to meet the needs of every student with an intentional focus on structure and rigor to keep all scholars on track regardless of where the learning itself is taking place. Technology allows for uninterrupted learning, regardless of possible restrictions placed on in-person schooling.
The program also allows schools to extend the learning window, create new opportunities and learning models for students, and boost the home to school connection.
More back-to-school information is available via this link.
El Paso ISD
The City of El Paso Department of Public Health released new orders limiting face-to-face instruction and requiring school buildings to remain closed to non-essential personnel until at least Sept. 8.
EPISD also will delay the first day of instruction to Aug. 17. The first three weeks of school will be conducted virtually for all students.
We will resume with the phased-in approach to the return to campuses on Sept. 8, or once local health authorities deem it safe to do so.
“EPISD is committed to our mission to serve as a strong community partner,” Superintendent Juan Cabrera said. “We have worked closely with the County and City of El Paso to ensure the health and wellbeing of our students, staff and community. We will to continue to work together for the safety of our community.”
EPISD staff and teachers will continue to work remotely until school buildings are opened. Last week, parents were sent a survey listing the three instructional models that will be offered once campuses are open. The options include continued virtual; staggered schedules (combination virtual and in-person); and daily face to face for certain groups. Parents should still proceed with choosing
an option as soon as possible in order to facilitate planning for campuses. The survey can be found at episd.org/reopeningplan
The city’s order also states:
•All children with special healthcare needs which are considered medically fragile should not return to
school until the 2021-2022 school year.
•Students, teachers, and staff age 2 years and older should wear face coverings, unless medically
contraindicated or if this may pose a risk to the student, teachers, and staff.
For updates and details of EPISD’s reopening plan, visit episd.org/reopeningplan
Dear Team SISD,
It is my hope that our community is safe and well. When our district previously released our reopening plans for the 2020-21 school year, we emphasized to our community that all plans were subject to change pending guidance from the Texas Education Agency (TEA) as well as local health and government officials. We’d like to update our community on the new developments.
Guidance from Texas Education Agency
TEA has released new guidance to school districts, and I am very proud to report that the Socorro Independent School District is in compliance with the learning models outlined by Commissioner Mike Morath on July 7, 2020. TEA is requiring that all students have the option to receive five day in-person instruction, but parents should be allowed to choose the At-Home (Remote) Learning Model if they don’t feel comfortable with the Traditional Learning Model. Via our Parent Scheduling Survey, we offered SISD students the option to learn all five days from school or from home.
Also, due to TEA guidance, the Hybrid Learning Model is only available to students in PreK through 2nd grade. If you haven’t filled
out our Parent Scheduling Survey, please do so by the end of today.
Additionally, the TEA Commissioner is providing all school districts in Texas with a three-week transition period similar to our SISD model in which we start the school year with three weeks of full remote instruction to provide our teachers and employees adequate time and space to adjust to the strenuous safety protocols and new way of teaching.
Guidance from Local Health & Government Authorities
As all of you may know, there has been an alarming spike in Covid-19 cases not only across our El Paso County but also across the country.
I agree wholeheartedly with the order by El Paso City-County Health Authority Dr. Hector Ocaranza with the support of both County Judge Ricardo Samaniego and Mayor Dee Margo that would prohibit any in-person classes by local school districts until after Labor Day in September.
Therefore, we have made a proactive decision to update our school calendar for the 2020-21 school year, which will meet guidelines issued by both TEA and El Paso health and government authorities. The adjusted calendar will still provide additional flexibility that will allow us to close our district or schools due to potential positive COVID-19 cases as necessary.
It is important to note that the new first day of school for students in the Socorro Independent School District will be on August 17, 2020. Teachers’ first day back to work will be August 3, 2020. We will continue with our plan to begin the school year with full remote instruction only for the first three weeks of school as authorized by TEA.
In-person instruction will begin on September 8, 2020 as directed by El Paso City-County health and government authorities.
Due to the pandemic continuing to get worse with record-breaking cases being reported daily in the El Paso community, we urge our families to do their part in preventing the spread of Covid-19 by practicing social distancing, staying home when possible, wearing their masks, and washing their hands frequently. Socorro ISD desperately needs our community’s help to go “Back to School SAFELY!”
I understand that our SISD stakeholders may have many questions and concerns, but I continue to ask for your patience, understanding, cooperation, and flexibility as our team works through the many issues that must be addressed for the new school year. We are still in uncharted waters; however, I know that together as Team SISD we will figure out the best and safest ways to navigate another challenging school year.
As with all Back to School plans, details may be subject to change pending the state of our local community health and new guidance issued by national, state, and local authorities as we approach the first day of school.
Rest assured that we will continue to update you as we finalize plans and move forward with the best interest in mind for our students and staff. We continue to consult regularly with local health and government officials, TEA, and seek additional guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to ensure that our procedures and protocols reflect the optimal ways to operate and “Keep Team SISD Safe.”
Please continue to check our #TeamSISD Back to School SAFELY webpage (www.sisd.net/backtoschool) as well as our Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram accounts frequently for updates and answers to questions you may have.
Our TOP priority remains the physical and emotional well-being of our students, employees, and families. I am grateful for the collaboration and unity that I continue to witness in our outstanding community. By working together, we will launch a safe and successful 2020-21 school year.
I greatly appreciate your continued support and trust in Team SISD. Stay healthy and stay strong. God bless all of our families.
José Espinoza, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools
Some local officials also added their voices to the discussion, the following is a statement from State Senator Jose Rodriguez:
Earlier this week, the president said he would use every means possible to force schools to re-open, regardless of the situation with COVID-19. Unfortunately, the situation in Texas is deteriorating rapidly, with the governor warning of significant increases in fatalities. Despite record-breaking numbers of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths in recent weeks, the Texas Education Agency is pushing local school districts to start instruction next month.
Parents and teachers are concerned that we are moving too quickly during a high-risk period and without sufficient planning. I share those concerns. We must be guided by the best science-based information available, not the politics of the president or some state leaders. Teachers and support staff must be given options that allow them to work without putting themselves or their families at risk.
I applaud the El Paso Public Health Department for issuing an order prohibiting in-person school openings until Sept. 7. This is a prudent move for our community’s health and safety.
***Awaiting comments from:
San Eli ISD