SAN JUAN, Texas — With 25 campuses across the RGV, IDEA Public Schools is preparing to welcome back hundreds of students for in-person learning next week.
Before going to class, students must pass multiple health screenings.
“We’re asking all our families to self-screen before they leave their homes every morning,” Layne Fisher, vice president of IDEA’s auxiliary services said. “Once they get to campus they’ll undergo a health screening process from our staff.”
IDEA has already welcomed back students in Tarrant County, the Permian Basin and Houston, but on Monday campuses in the RGV, San Antonio and Austin enter the first stage of reopening.
And within a month, all students will have the option to be back in class. But, according to IDEA, those who don’t will be able to continue virtual learning.
“We’re wearing masks all day,” Fisher said. “Facial coverings are required for students and staff members. And we’ll maintain social distancing in the classrooms too.”
Across the campuses, Fisher says about 40 percent of students are returning on Monday. He adds the new safety and sanitation measures — including adding containment rooms in case a student starts exhibiting symptoms during the day and blocking off rows on school busses — were decided after gathering input from parents and teachers.
“We won’t have students transitioning from classroom to classroom,” he said. “Our staff will have limited transitioning throughout the school da,y and no transitioning at lower grade levels. And of course, we’re deep cleaning our buildings every single evening and hitting the high traffic areas multiple times throughout the school day.”
To avoid too much activity, students will even eat in their classrooms. With all these precautions in place, families will have to adjust to a slightly different schedule.
“We built in time in the mornings to allow for health screenings,” Fisher said. “Afternoons will be a little bit longer dismissal than what parents are used to.”
In the case a student or faculty member contracts the virus, IDEA has implemented a contact tracing system to alert others who may have been exposed while they work with local health officials to determine the next steps.