School district asks for community input
By Gaige Davila
Point Isabel ISD is applying for a federal grant to help recoup losses across its campuses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The grant, the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER), is in its third iteration, after Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Approximately $13.2 billion was allotted for the grant, which was signed into law this past March.
PI-ISD will receive about $10 million from this round of the ESSER grant, having received the first round earlier this year and are currently receiving the second round.
Funds from the ESSER can be used broadly, but more specifically can be used for sanitation training for school district staff, improving building air quality, meal programs, campus facility repairs, after-school programs addressing lost instructional time, mental health services and summer school programs.
The school district is asking the Laguna Madre community how best to use the federal grant through an online survey, the deadline due this Friday, June 11. The survey asks respondents how they best believe the district can return to normal operations, what they believe the district should continue doing, what the most difficult aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic are regarding schooling and additional questions for parents and students.
“We truly want to get feedback from everybody,” PI-ISD Superintendent Theresa Capistran told the PRESS. “Most importantly from our families, our students and our parents.”
So far, survey respondents have highlighted safety to be most important to them, indicating they want PI-ISD to continue COVID safety protocols, even more so than technology improvements and extended learning time, Capistran said. The district is continuing to encourage COVID-19 safety protocols, like face mask wearing a social distancing, even if they can’t mandate them, after Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s executive order prohibiting such ordinances.
As of now, the district has identified at least one thing they will surely do with the money: a mental health program for students on each of the district’s four campuses. PI-ISD is currently working on what this program will be and when it will launch.
PI-ISD is currently hosting summer camps, and students are happy to be back on campus and socializing, Capistran said, hoping the camps will provide some aid to their mental health.
PI-ISD will make a public announcement on what the ESSER monies will be used for once survey responses are collected.
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