Amid pandemic, fewer pre-kindergarten students enroll at Donna ISD

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The Donna Independent School District enrolled 267 fewer pre-kindergarten students for the 2020-2021 school year as parents worried about the coronavirus pandemic kept their children at home.

Fewer students means less state funding for local schools. Students who don't attend pre-kindergarten may also fall behind their peers, leading to long-term problems.

"To see that students in our community are not enrolling, of course it worries me because we want our students to really get a head start," said Donna ISD Superintendent Hafedh Azaiez.

Students who don't attend pre-kindergarten classes may fall behind.

"There are a lot of wonderful studies out there that show if we don't have this foundation early on, it becomes a struggle later on," said Veronica Rodriguez, chairwoman of the program for Child Development and Early Childhood at South Texas College.

In addition to problems with reading, writing and math, students who don't attend pre-kindergarten classes may also struggle with socio-emotional development and problem solving skills.

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