EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — Students have not been on the Lydia Patterson Institute campus since March of 2020. Officials told KTSM 9 News they were hoping to bring students back this semester but decided against it.
“We are affected by what happens with immigration, what happens with the closing of the bridge and COVID, so all of those things we have to take into consideration to keep our students safe,” said De Anda.
Lydia Patterson is a private school and officials say they have lost students during the pandemic, as 70 percent of the school’s students come from Ciudad Juarez to study.
Dr. Socorro De Anda, the school’s president, told KTSM 9 News that the school on average has 400 students enrolled, and now they only have 260.
De Anda explained that the majority of students who left the school were students from Juarez.
“Parents were a little hesitant on whether or not they wanted to send their kids to a school in El Paso,” said De Anda.
However, the school has been around for more than 100 years and De Anda is confident students will return.
“This is not the first time that we have had to go through something like this — if you think back, you know, the school opened in 1913 during the Mexican Revolution, we’ve gone through two world wars,” said De Anda. “The school will be here a long, long time, I’m sure it will be here another 100 years.”
Teachers for Lydia Patterson are still teaching virtually from home, but officials say the plan is to offer summer school to help students who have fallen behind.
Another El Paso private school, Loretto Academy also saw a decrease in enrollment during the pandemic. The president of Loretto Academy Sr. Buffy Boesen tells KTSM that some parents with multiple children are choosing to homeschool on their own.
Although Loretto did allow students to return this semester for in person learning, but few did many choosing to remain remote.
“Just under 50 percent of the elementary, just under 20 percent of the middle school, and maybe under 10 percent of the high school,” said Sr. Buffy Boesen.
The same is true for Father Yermo a private school in the Lower Valley that has had students back in the classroom for in-person learning. However, only about 30 percent returned the rest choosing to remain remote.
“Right now we don’t have too many face to face because of the index of infection right, so the parents are really worried about it because with some of them being high school students they cross the bridge,” said Sr. Yamila Trejo.