HARLINGEN, Texas — Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced Friday that all schools must shut down for the rest of the year.
Many districts in the Rio Grande Valley had not yet announced a definitive date on when they would reopen and with the new announcement Friday, they will be forced to cut the year short.
Local parents say it’s heartbreaking for the Class of 2020 and difficult on them as well.
“I have a 1st grader, a 9th grader, and a senior,” said Isela Gonzales, a mother of three who works a full-time job and now has turned into a part-time teacher, “It’s hard, it’s very hard, it’s been a while since I graduated so it is a little tough to understand.”
Next month, she should have seen her daughter, Elissa Espinoza, walk the stage to graduate from Harlingen High School South.
“We got the cap and gown and we got the invites to her graduation as well and the party, we planned a big party and everything already,” said Gonzales.
After the Governor’s executive order announcement, all that changed.
“I didn’t expect it at all,” said Espinoza, “I’m in marching band and we made some really good memories and it’s sad we won’t have our end of the year concert for the seniors and we were going to send our video to state for the top band ensemble and now I don’t think we will be able to do any of that.”
The U.I.L. announced they too are canceling all spring activities and state championships for the year.
Now, the family is trying to find balance in the new normal.
The biggest question is if the Texas economy re-opens soon, what will happen when the kids must stay home to study alone?
“I had to go back to work and I have three kids all in school, including her, so it was a little bit stressful the first week and I don’t know what’s going to happen now,” said Gonzales.
Like thousands of parents in the valley, they are managing, but Gonzales wants other parents to know they may be apart, but are not alone.
“Don’t think of the bad things…oh we won’t see them at prom or we didn’t get to see her walk, they’re our kids and they’re always going to make us proud, we will get to see them graduate college,” said Gonzales.
School districts all around the RGV announced the closures to parents via email, calls and on social media.
The Texas Education Agency released a statement on the school closures saying, “Following Governor Greg Abbott’s executive order on schools issued this afternoon, it is important to note that while the Governor’s decision announces the closure of school buildings, it in no way ends at home instruction support for Texas’s millions of students.”