The reopening of El Paso Independent School District schools was scheduled for an October 26th date for sophomores, juniors, and seniors. However, due to a sharp increase reaching 10 percent in COVID-19 cases in the El Paso county, the reopening for in person lectures has been rescheduled for November 9.
November 4 and 5 will see campus administrators and teachers returning to the buildings, November 6 will have grades pre-k through ninth grade returning for in person lectures, and on November 9th all remaining grades will return. Although students are returning for in person lectures, the reopening won’t just be in person full time. The district will follow a hybrid format in which students will spend two days of the week in person and three days staying virtual.
“I was really glad this decision was made for the entire grading period,” teacher Norma Ortiz said. “It coincides with our year-round school calendar and I know parents might disagree, but from a professional standpoint, it’s the smart thing to do.”
With the reopening of schools, they are forced to have safety precautions that will protect the health and well-being of the students and faculty to ensure a responsible and sanitary environment. This includes but not limited to, wearing face masks, taking temperatures, and maintaining social distancing. Lunch will also be different as there will be no cafeteria and students will eat in their classrooms. Students will also not be allowed to leave campus during their lunch time.
“I think initially the students and teachers will have problems with these new precautions, but over time they’ll adjust to these changes,” parent Roman Esparza said. “I think going back to school in a hybrid format is a step in the right direction in going back to school full time. I think we all just want to have our normal lives back”
Students will also have the option of staying remote in which they can stay virtual full time. Students staying remote don’t have to worry about taking any precautions if they chose this alternate option.
“I don’t really want to risk it,” eighth grade student James Esparza said. “Even though I miss being at school in person, I have family members that are prone to getting coronavirus.”
Teachers are hopeful that these precautions are good enough to ensure their and the student’s safety. The number of students in each class will be based on the square footage of the classroom as well as a six-foot social distancing between students. Student-teacher ratio will also remain the same. Wearing a mask is a requirement as it will be apart of the daily routines of the day. If a student refuses to wear their mask, they will be placed in a virtual setting.
“I think the precautions are enough, however, it all depends on how well everyone follows and abides by these precautions,” coach Jacob Heidenreich said. “I think we do need to return to school at some point, and as long as there is a plan, I think it’s a good idea.
Correction: Plans were made by the school district to delay that start and begin “pods” on November 9 after an increased rise in Covid-19 cases and hospitalizing rates in the county.