Reaction from parents mixed as McAllen ISD students return to in-person classes
Starting Wednesday, students at Edinburg CISD and McAllen ISD are making their way back to the classroom.
Reaction from parents has been mixed, with some applauding the district for sticking to their start date, and others believing some sort of delay should have been implemented as omicron concerns grow.
"I'm just fearful that everybody's going to get sick and we're going to be in a very dire situation," said Christine Loera, a mother of two teen daughters who recently tested positive for the virus.
McAllen ISD parent Stephanie Navarro, who has a vaccinated son in kindergarten and a daughter in her senior year, believes those in the classroom should press on.
“With all the precautions, vaccination and wearing the masks, and our principals have done a great job,” Navarro said. “Both my youngest and oldest in their campus I think that there’s nothing to fear.”
McAllen AFT President Sylvia Tanguma says that teachers are being more cautious, with some even preparing to double-mask or purchase more effective ones. While Tanguma believes virtual classes for the first two weeks would have been ideal, she’s also accepted that not everyone would actually stay at home.
"I really think it's going to affect us,” Tanguma said. “I think it's going to affect the schools, I think it's going to affect the classrooms because you're not going to have staff there to be able to take care of the classrooms."
With the omicron variant continuing to fuel concerns, some parents are hoping to accept it the best way they can.
“I don’t know when this is going away and it’s scary not to know, but we have to continue," Navarro said. "We have to continue with our everyday life.”
A spokesperson for McAllen ISD was not available for an interview on this story, but in a letter sent to parents, the district says that school nurses will be administering COVID-19 testing for students and staff during school hours. The district is also highly encouraging masks.
Read the entire letter below:
"Dear Parents and Colleagues,
I hope you have had an enjoyable and restful break. We are excited as classes are set to resume for the spring semester on Wednesday, January 5. Staff will return to work on Monday, January 3.
This is a quick reminder to please continue practicing COVID-19 health and safety protocols during any New Year celebrations and as we move forward into 2022. Please seek a COVID-19 test if you or your child are experiencing symptoms related to COVID-19 or have been exposed to someone known to have COVID-19.
We are committed to doing all we can to keep students and staff healthy and safe. You may contact your health-care provider or visit a community testing site which can be found here: https://www.hidalgocounty.us/coronavirusupdates
In addition, starting Wednesday, January 5, school nurses will be administering COVID-19 testing for students and staff during school hours. There will also be a COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic for children ages 5-11 on January 5 at Roosevelt Elementary School (4801 S. 26th St.).
Vaccine Clinic information here: https://sites.google.com/mcallenisd.net/vaccines/home
Register for clinic here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfdeS_DKB-RPYXXqn-PkML2nDT_k8E6G_ClGm4-HUkar9GtUw/viewform
Students and staff should continue following COVID-19 safety protocols, including daily health-screenings, before reporting to school or work. This will greatly help prevent the spread. The screening tool is in Skyward and the Skyward app.
Do not come to school or report to work if you are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms. Should you test positive for COVID-19 and are experiencing symptoms, stay in isolation for 10 days.
If you test positive but are asymptomatic (experiencing no symptoms), the isolation period will be 5 days with a return on day 6. This measure is in line with CDC guidelines and is endorsed by Hidalgo County. No negative test will be required to return but students and staff should wear a mask on days 6-10. In other situations, masks are still highly encouraged and we thank you for wearing them.
For more information, contact your child’s school nurse or McAllen ISD Health Services at 956-632-3275 starting on Monday, January 3. Together, we can keep each other safe.
J.A. Gonzalez, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools"