No virtual learning in Socorro ISD back-to-school plan


EL PASO, Texas (KTSM)– The Socorro ISD Board of Trustees unanimously voted to approve the district’s back-to-school plan during Tuesday’s regular meeting.

Trustee Cynthia Najera was absent from Tuesday’s meeting and did not vote.

Marivel Macias, the SISD Assistant Superintendent of Administrative Services presented the back-to-school plan to the board.

Macias said the plan was constructed after an immense amount of feedback and concerns from parents and the community, which was formed with surveys and community meetings.

The plan includes changes to the district’s safety protocols at campuses, cirriculum, and calendar schedules.

Macias said the plan will not offer virtual learning despite survey results from enrolled students indicating 41% would choose a virtual option if it was available.

Macias said the district could not offer a virtual option because, during the Texas 2021 regular legislative session, lawmakers failed to pass legislation that would fund online learning for the 2021-22 school year.

This means the back-to-school plan requires all students to return to the classroom for face-to-face instruction and teachers will no longer simultaneously teach students in person as well as online.

Extracirricular activities such as athletics, fine arts and UIL clubs will resume as well. Macias said the district will also implement an intervention plan to address learning loss during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The curriculum will resume to hands-on, collaborative and small-group learning as well, however, all students will continue to have their own devices.

As far as health and safety protocols, hand sanitizing stations will be available, and face masks will be optional as Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s Executive Order 36 prohibits the mandatory requirement of face masks by school districts.

The district said physical distancing will be required depending on capacity and risk:

  • 3 ft. minimum recommended for elementary students
  • 6 ft. minimum recommended for elementary lunch and elementary indoor activities such as band, singing, and some sports.

PPE such as face shields, face masks, desk shields, hand sanitizer, etc. will be available upon request and vaccinations are not mandatory, however, encouraged for those 12 and older. Contact tracing, isolation and quarantine will continue as well as frequent cleaning, disinfecting and sanitizing.

The district’s E-Swipe protocol will continue, which was implemented for parents and staff to indicate if they are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or have come into contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus.

The first day of school for SISD is August 2.

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