MCALLEN, Texas (KVEO)— School districts around the Rio Grande Valley have been working with the Texas Education Agency (TEA) for months to keep their students safe and academically on track despite the surge of COVID-19 cases.
McAllen Independent School Superintendent Dr. J.A. Gonzalez said their biggest concern is public safety, which is why he believes weekly meetings with their T-E-A Commissioner about safety protocols and student success has given them the support they needed.
“There’s been some concern about gaps in education, but we feel confident that once we get back to face to face, we’ll be able to close any gaps,” said Gonzalez, “The Texas Education Agency has been very understanding from an A-F standpoint, they’re not holding us accountable for our A-F for this testing cycle so we’ll remain an A rated district, so we look forward to next spring.”
Gonzalez adds only a small number of kids are attending face-to-face lear
ning, and if they school officials notice students experiencing educational gaps, they will try to fill them.
School districts are taking various precautions to eliminate any chance of a possible spread of the virus on campus.
The foundation of safety at all school districts are similar, such as, wearing masks and having the proper personal protective equipment (PPE). However, some districts are trying different safety procedures.
“We ask for a disclosure form from our students before arriving at school letting their teachers know if they are experiencing any symptoms prior to them arriving at the campus,” said coordinator for Safety Security at Mission CISD Martin Castaneda.
“We are practicing our social distancing, all of our cleaning and everything we are doing in regards to sanitizing the building, and using our antimicrobial agent called gold shield that we spray.” said Gonzalez, “It kills virus and bacteria so there is a lot of steps that were taking to keep our kids safe.”
Staff at McAllen ISD were concerned for the surge after Christmas break. Teachers were supposed to go back to work in person, January 25. But now the vast majority of teachers are working from home until February 15.
The TEA said each district will have safety measures tailored to their specific needs.