HARLINGEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — School is back in session and hurricane season is in full effect and that is leading school districts to be prepared for severe weather.
Harlingen CISD Assistant Superintendent Oscar Tapia said after storms caused damage to schools in June 2019, road construction and drainage repairs have been completed, making things safer in the event storms strike again.
Tapia explained that a lot of the flooding caused during that time was due to road construction and drainage systems that were being worked on in the Dishman Elementary area.
He said the district prepares for severe storms as soon as school goes on summer break. They clean out gutters and drains, remove tree branches and loose debris that could cause damage to property or people.
The district is also prepared to follow a protocol if unexpected severe weather occurs while class is in session.
“We’ll send our maintenance staff to take sandbags, take pallets or blocks or bricks to put in areas where kids need to travel safely to the buses and pick up areas,” said Tapia.
Tapia said if it is dangerous for students to leave the campus, they will go into a lockdown and stay in school until it is safe to leave.
He explained parents will be notified through direct alerts if a school closure will happen because of incoming severe storms or damages resulting from weather.
Campuses at Point Isabel ISD are vulnerable to storms because of their proximity to the gulf and Superintendent Teri Capistran said they are prepared.
She said everyone in the district plays a role in the preparation for storms.
The maintenance department will secure the outside of the buildings, while other staff will secure the technology inside the buildings.
She said the district works closely with Cameron County Emergency Management to stay updated on potential severe weather.
Capistran explained that the information received from emergency management will help them determine school closures.
She said communication is vital in the event a storm is threatening the area.
“We have several ways that we communicate with them. Obviously, our social media and our school district web page, but we also have a phone system that our school district uses that sends out text messages and voicemail messages informing them,” said Capistran.
Parents are recommended to keep their contact information, particularly their phone numbers, updated with the school in order to receive emergency updates.