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Pope Francis / Credit: Neneos/iStockphoto

UPDATE: EPCC joins UTEP, El Paso, Socorro, Ysleta ISDs to close during Pope’s visit

In a Thursday night news release, El Paso Community College (EPCC) announced they will cancel classes for Pope’s Visit on February 17th.

The EPCC Board of Trustees voted Thursday, January 21st at its monthly meeting to close all campuses, including the Administration Services Center.

Previous story from January 19th—————-

Three of the area’s largest school districts, El Paso, Ysleta and Socorro ISDs all decided Tuesday to close during Pope Francis’s historic visit to Juarez in February.

Ysleta ISD officials announced late Tuesday afternoon that they will be shutting down on February 17th for the Pope’s visit to the Borderland.  Soon after, El Paso ISD officials joined their colleagues in making the decision to shutter their schools for the day.

EPISD officials released their decision via a Tuesday evening tweet, adding that the day would be swapped for President’s Day (February 15th.)  About an hour later, Socorro ISD officials announced the closure of their district for the day as well.

SISD’s message, sent via Twitter, simply said, “ schools and offices will be closed on Feb. 17 to ensure the safety and security of school communities during the papal visit.”

YISD Officials shared their decision via a news release, stating, “After thoughtful deliberation and a survey of principals, the Ysleta Independent School District will close its offices and schools on Feb. 17 in anticipation of a substantial decrease in student and staff attendance due to the scheduled papal visit to Ciudad Juarez.”

Detailed information will be provided this week to all YISD students, parents, and employees whose instructional and/or professional schedules will be impacted by the closure on Feb. 17.  Officials added that  instructional and professional time will be made up in accordance with  their district policy.

The release went on to state “While YISD administration recognizes and supports the separation of church and state as outlined in the U.S. Constitution, the decision to close the district on Feb. 17 is based on the potential detrimental financial impact to YISD related to student, faculty, and staff absenteeism, as well as an increased demand for substitute teachers.”

The release from EPISD said, “EPISD has collaborated with local, state and international agencies to facilitate the historic papal visit. Trustees weighed several options — including road closures, safety and security, accessibility to facilities and potential higher-than-normal absenteeism — in reaching their decision.

El Paso ISD officials added, “The District joins the Ysleta and Socorro independent school districts, as well as the Universityof Texas at El Paso, at taking the recommendation of local, state and federal agencies to cancel classes for the day.”

Socorro ISD officials expanded on their reasoning for the closure on Wednesday morning, stating via news release, “The decision was based on the impact the Pope’s visit will have on the SISD and entire El Paso community, including the anticipated increased traffic congestion and county and city emergency responders being occupied on that day.

The release also added the information that SISD Students will not have to make up the school day, as “the district will be in compliance with the state-mandated instructional minutes for the school year. Exempt employees will not have to make up the time. Non-exempt employees may take a personal day or make up the time as agreed upon with their supervisor.”

The districts join UTEP in their decision to close during the visit. The University will be hosting a huge viewing ceremony at the Sun Bowl that same day.

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One comment

  1. I do not understand this at all. Does someone at either school district really believe that a significant number of our local school kids will try to go to Juarez to see the Pope? Really? Doesn’t anyone in the districts know that we can no longer cross the border without passports? And, that few people today, even in El Paso, have legal passports?! What is the point of closing school, when all it will mean is a day off to the average student?

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