Back to school: IDEA, Rio Grande City ISD preparing for classes
With more Valley students heading back to school, parents are focused on keeping their kids safe from COVID-19.
Vanessa Vera is a mother to a seven-year-old daughter and a 12-year -old son. When the vaccine became eligible for his age group, she saw a path forward.
"My decision was to move forward with getting my son vaccinated because I wanted to make sure he was protected all the ways,” Vera said.
Vera's daughter is too young for a dose, but she felt confident sending them back to school.
"I do know that we have a new variant, but I feel that IDEA has been very robust following the safety measurements that are relevant,” Vera said.
IDEA’s regional superintendent Jill Dominguez says this year, classrooms and hallways look different.
"We're going to continue to have hand-sanitizing stations before entering the building and throughout the school day, frequent sanitation of surfaces and social-distancing to the extent possible,” Dominguez said.
Dominguez said the district also has air filtration systems that were installed last year, as well as ionizers and air purifiers. If a student contracts COVID-19, the school cannot require quarantine unless directed by a local health authority. And if a teacher contracts COVID-19, Dominguez said they have a group of about 20 teachers in case of emergency.
Valley districts are taking steps both in and outside the classroom to protect students and staff.
Rio Grande City ISD Director of Public Relations Adrian Ozuna is helping lead the efforts.
"Twelve-year-old students to fifteen-year-old students, with at least one dose, we're at over 50 percent,” Ozuna said.
Ozuna says with teachers, the district is almost at a 100% vaccination rate.
While schools are doing what they can, UTRGV assistant professor of pediatrics Dr. Keila Rodriguez says parents should start preparing their kids at home.
"It's very, very important to make sure that they have all their recommended routine vaccinations," Dr. Rodriguez said.
Dr. Rodriguez added that kids should start masking up at home so parents can make sure they're doing it correctly.
"Just practice masking around the house or wherever you're at. It's important to remind them not to be touching their face, washing their hands, so so important," Dr. Rodriguez said.
Dr. Rodriguez says you should put hand sanitizer in kids backpacks, provided they're old enough to use it properly.
She also urges everyone who is eligible for the vaccine to get it, especially if there are kids in the house.
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