By Gaige Davila
Port Isabel students will continue phasing back into campuses as the school year continues.
Starting Nov. 16, Point Isabel Independent School District (PI-ISD) will begin Phase 4 of their plan to physically reinstate students onto its campuses. In total, 647 students are enrolled at PI-ISD’s four campuses, all of which are anticipated to return to campus, according to PI-ISD’s “Return to Learn” plan.
Now on their 12th and final week of a waiver granted by the Texas Education Agency (TEA), PI-ISD, as required by TEA, must phase their student body back to campus. Students are not required to return to campus, however, if they or their parents choose to continue attending school virtually.
Last week, PI-ISD sent a survey to parents asking if they wanted their students to physically return to campus. So far, 80% of parents have responded, with 50% of them opting for their students to return. As of press time, PI-ISD was personally contacting the other 20% of parents who have not responded to the survey.
“It is critical that we know the exact number (of students returning),” Capistran told the PRESS. “Because there is so much planning that needs to take place, both at the campus and district level.”
Teachers need to prepare their classrooms; lunch schedules and seating arrangements inside the cafeteria need to be made; multiple busses need to be routed.
PI-ISD has purchased around $118,000 of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in preparation for students’ return, requiring all students and staff to wear face masks on campus. As students roam the halls and change classes.
There are 20 handwashing stations, 239 single-handle metering faucets, 81 automatic wall-mounted soap dispensers, 1 towel dispensers, 145 air ionization filtration systems, 200 KN95 masks. health-related office supplies, 620 lanyards, 12 wall thermometers, 400 gowns, 20 cases of gloves, 2500 adult face shields, 400 child face shields, 2000 adult face masks, 1000 child face masks and 520 decals advising social distancing and mask wearing.
Full class days have returned, starting at 8:10 a.m. and ending at 4 p.m., alternating between in-class and at-home sessions. Classes are 45 minutes long.
Students attending class on campus will be divided into two groups based on their last name. Group Blue will have last names A through L, while Group White will have names M through Z. Students will alternate days on campus, according to a newsletter from PI-ISD.
No students or staff have contracted COVID-19 from within the district, Capistran said. Regarding PI-ISD’s cancelling of the Tarpons’ game against Raymondville last week, Capistran said the act was a cautionary measure. A PSJA student tested positive for COVID-19, potentially exposing their football team. As a precaution, PI-ISD cancelled their game against Raymondville, prematurely ending an already-short football season.
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