By Gaige Davila
All Texas schools will remain closed for the rest of the 2019-2020 academic year, as novel coronavirus COVID-19 continues to spread throughout Texas. At Point Isabel Independent School District (PI-ISD), instruction will continue.
PI-ISD’s food and technology distribution programs will continue until May 28, the last day of the 2019-2020 academic school year.
“We definitely don’t want to eliminate (those programs),” Theresa Capistran, PI-ISD’s superintendent, told the PRESS in a phone call soon after Abbott announced the executive order. “Because we know that’s important to our families.”
Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued an executive order on Friday, April 17, announcing the school closure.
“The buildings are closed, but instruction is not,” Capistran said.
Capistran said they were expecting schools would remain closed for the academic year, based on U.S. President Donald Trump’s press conference on April 16, where the president outlined guidelines to reopen the nation’s economy.
In the press conference, Trump, outlining the “Opening Up America Again” guidelines from the White House, said schools should remain closed, pertaining to Phase One of the guidelines. In Phase Two of the guidelines, schools can reopen, if there is no risk of COVID-19 case “rebound.”
Previously, Abbott said schools would remain closed until May 4.
For Port Isabel High School seniors’ graduation, Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath will address how Texas schools should coordinate their commencement ceremonies, according to Capistran.
Next week, Capistran is meeting with seniors in student council, for their “ideas and feedback” on the class of 2020’s commencement ceremony.
“We will definitely acknowledge our seniors in one way or another,” she said.
In a previous interview with the PRESS, Capistran said a commencement date could be in the summer.
Capistran said this morning’s (April 17) District-wide Educational Improvement Council (DEIC) meeting, 90 percent of students from the teachers present were communicating with them and doing their coursework. This number does not reflect students across campuses.
Capistran will be issuing a survey across campuses to teachers to gauge how many students are doing school work and or communicating with their teachers.
PI-ISD’s Chief of Police, Joe De Leon, last Friday, April 10, visited 11 students’ homes. The students and their parents and or guardians had not been in contact with their teachers or done school work. Out of the 11 visits, De Leon made contact with nine of the students. Capistran did not have details as to why they were not doing school work or communicating with their teachers.
On Monday, April 20, PI-ISD’s school board will meet to discuss how many minutes PI-ISD campuses have been operating, with 75,600 operational minutes required by the Texas Education Code.
The school board will vote whether to approve the 2019-2020 COVID-19 Missed Day Waiver Attestation Statement to meet the 75,600 operational minutes, submitted to the Texas Education Agency, who would waive the operational minutes requirement.