EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — On Monday, any El Paso student whose parent opted for them to return to in-person learning can, as Region 19’s TEA waiver has expired.
For Yeslta Independent School District students, it’s the first time they will be returning to the classroom. YISD officials tell KTSM 9 News that about 30 percent of the district’s student population will be returning for in-person learning on Monday, about 10,000 students.
Two of them are Mackenzie Hirsbrunner and Kaitlyn Buster. Both started middle school during the pandemic and are excited to see their friends.
“I’m a bit anxious but really excited because I always wanted to go back to school face to face since COVID came out ’cause I wanted to meet all my teachers, but we couldn’t,” said 7th grader Mackenzie Hirsbrunner. “And then just to go back with all these rules and everything, it just makes me anxious.”
Her friend Kaitlyn Buster is also excited, saying learning at home has been a challenge.
“Because of the internet and everything, and turning things in on time. So I’m kind of excited to go back because I do better face to face,” said Buster. “It would be our first year at middle school, so it kind of sucks that we have to do all this for our first year in middle school.”
Another YISD student, Paul Nemeth, who is in 9th grade says he told his parents he wanted to return but is still worried about getting the virus.
“I’m scared that I’m still going to get it even though we’re going to have procedures like washing our hands, hand sanitizer, and wearing masks,” said Nemeth.
However, he says learning online has been difficult for both him and his younger sister, Priscilla, who will also return to the classroom on Monday.
“Ever since this whole COVID started, and online school started, I’ve been having trouble with internet connections and my grades, so I feel like face to face would help me bring them back up,” said Priscilla Nemeth.
YISD officials tell KTSM 9 News they are ready and prepared to welcome students back for in-person learning.
“From testing to social distancing in the classroom to masks to just everything is in place, and we’re looking forward to it, to execute our plan,” said Brenda Chacon-Robles, the Chief Academic Officer for YISD.
She says that it is still parents’ choice whether or not they want their student to return.
“Parents have a choice, so parents have always had the choice to stay back,” said Chacon-Robles. “So based on that, that’s about 30 percent of our population that wants to return so those parents will be given the opportunity to return on the 1st. So, it is by choice parents can always stay remote for the remainder of the year or return face to face.”
While YISD students will have their first day on Monday, El Paso Independent School District and Socorro Independent School Distirct students have been back in the classroom for the past two weeks.