EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — Officials with the El Paso Department of Health issued new recommendations Saturday night, urging county schools to remain closed until April 6 in order to prevent transmission of the COVID-19 virus.
Socorro and Clint ISD already announced they will not resume classes until April 6 at the earliest. El Paso ISD announced they will also extend their closure to April 6 on Sunday morning.
In addition to the recommendation that schools stay closed one week longer, they also issued additional guidance for children with special healthcare needs and those who have travel history.
Below are the recommendations given to the school districts as of Saturday, March 14:
- School districts directed to have students return from Spring Break on April 6, 2020.
- Children with special healthcare needs should not return to school during the current school year.
- All students, faculty and staff with travel history of less than 14 days will have to stay home for 14 days before returning to school and only if they are asymptomatic.
- Children with influenza-like symptoms will be sent home by a school nurse; and they may return when they do not have fever for more than 24 hours and no cough.
- All school districts are directed to cancel mass gatherings/events, to include but not limited to sports, commencement ceremonies, concerts, etc.
- All schools are directed to collect information on a daily basis on absenteeism due to influenza-like illness (by grade and school); starting on the first day the students return from Spring Break.
- All schools are directed to promote and implement effective hygiene activity among students and personnel, teaching them proper handwashing, cough etiquette, cleaning of working surfaces and social distancing.
- All schools are directed to stagger lunch hours to prevent large gatherings in the cafeteria.
The El Paso Department of Health also issued guidance to local school districts for temporary school dismissal which should be considered on a case-by-case basis.
- Presumptive positive case of COVID-19 in a school
- Community-wide spread of the virus
- Impact to our community
In addition to public school districts, the health department says they’ll be reaching out to private and charter schools to ensure all educational institutions in El Paso are on the same page with regard to preventative measures for students upon their return to campus.
This is a developing story. If additional school districts decide to implement the recommended extended closure, the story will be updated.