EDINBURG, Texas (ValleyCentral) — IDEA Public Schools in the Rio Grande Valley began the school year with new safety measures being implemented on one of its campuses.

“I think there has been a shift in the way we look at safety,” said Viviane Castillo-Manzano, principal of IDEA Toros College Prep. “We have always known it is important but the events at the end of last year shifted us into an urgency mode.”  

Following safety concerns after the Uvalde mass shooting, the IDEA Toros campus underwent a threat assessment to see what safety measures needed to be changed.

“As a result of that a lot of the procedures are changing, a lot of the systems are needing to be adjusted,” Manzano said. “For example, we are shifting to key card entry, so it eliminates the need for keys and leaving it open and unlocked.”

In addition to key card access to all classrooms and the addition of a campus security guard, there will also be more drills.

“We’re incorporating a lot more drills this year. The other night I was telling parents your child may come home and say ‘we had another lockdown drill or another evacuation drill’ and that is we have to build muscle memory for students,” Manzano said. “In the case of an emergency they don’t have to wonder what is it that we do for this type of drill, they know what to do. We have to build muscle memory.”

As the new school year gets underway, the main goal for educators this year is to keep their kids safe.

“As time progresses, we may get comfortable so it is that point that we really need to be aware of,” Manzano said. “We are scheduling ahead of time, so we don’t forget that it matters.”