La Feria News

La Feria ISD sets guidelines for unprecedented school year

A worker disinfects a classroom as La Feria ISD works to prepare for the upcoming 2020-21 school year. School begins on Aug. 24, but students will begin the school year in a virtual setting. Photo: LFISD

By NELDA BRIONES
LFN

As La Feria ISD gets ready to start up the new 2020-21 school year, the district is preparing to keep students and staff safe for when in-person classes begin.

According to LFISD Superintendent Cathy Lee Hernandez, the district has been working throughout the summer preparing for students to return to school following safety guidelines set by the Texas Education Agency.

Because of the ongoing pandemic, however, this school year will look a little bit different.

Students will start classes on Aug. 24 but at 100 percent remote online learning until Sept. 21 when in-person learning will start. Parents will have a choice whether to continue with remote learning or to send their children to school.

The district will provide Chromebooks, iPads and WiFi hotspots to ensure students that need devices for remote learning will have the connectivity they need. As for in-person safety measures, according to a statement from Superintendent Hernandez, the district is implementing new safety protocols to prevent the virus from entering the schools by conducting pre-screenings of staff and students to on-site screenings as well.

The district is changing procedures for the fall by providing dividers between desks in grades PK-3 through first grade and requiring mask/face shields in grades 2-12. All staff will be provided with face shields on the first day back to in-person instruction.

In addition, some of the changes that have been made in the district to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 are automatic/contactless faucets and toilets for all restrooms, automatic/contactless hand sanitizer stations at the front entrance of buildings, and additional hand sanitizer stations throughout the campuses. Automatic/contactless water fountains and bottle filling stations in all campuses are also being installed to ensure clean drinking water for everyone. They will also have plexiglass installation barriers for all campus offices and there will be safety signage all around campuses.

Safety measures on all busses will include hand sanitizer, which will be used entering and exiting the bus, and there will be temperature checks prior to loading, and everyone will use face masks including drivers, who will also use face shields. Bus drivers will keep windows open for ventilation and air filtration systems will be purchased for all buses.

Children from different households will sit six feet apart from each other as recommended by CDC guidelines. All busses will be cleaned and sanitized daily between runs, and at the end of the day.

Superintendent Hernandez states that La Feria ISD is currently working on a Safety Guidelines Handbook that will be posted on the district’s website on Aug. 11 for all parents, staff, students and community. The handbook will outline procedures for cleaning and disinfecting at the campuses, safety procedures for the buses, breakfast, lunch, UIL activities, and protocols for students transitioning between classes. Meetings have been held with staff and parents gathering input for this handbook.

Hernandez also stated that as the district prepares for the start of a very unprecedented school year, administration and staff are dedicated to providing a quality education for every child in the district while keeping all staff, students, and the community’s safety a top priority.

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