Teachers relieved by decision to delay in-person classes until September

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Teachers and parents are feeling a greater sigh of relief after local health leaders in both Cameron and Hidalgo counties ordered a delay in in-person class instruction on Tuesday.

"It's incredibly positive," said Isabel Martínez, a parent and teacher in Edinburg.

Cameron County Health Authority Dr. James Castillo ordered that public and private schools delay in-person instruction until after Sept. 8.

Hidalgo County Health Authority Dr. Iván Meléndez issued a similar order, delaying the start of in-person classes at all schools until after Sept. 27.

"We don't see our numbers decreasing, our numbers are increasing," said Sylvia Tanguma, president of the McAllen ISD American Federation of Teachers.

Tanguma said if county officials had not taken action, many teacher and students would have been affected, and not necessarily by the coronavirus.

"We would have lost a lot of good teachers," Tanguma said.

Specifically, many experienced teachers would've considered early retirement.

"Even if it's just a skeleton crew, there's still that possibility of spread," Martínez said.

School district administrators at Edinburg CISD, continue to meet to find solutions on how to have their students connected to the internet. Meanwhile, other school districts like Brownsville ISD continue to make changes to their academic calendar.

One state board of education member says more needs to be done.

"While I do unfortunately believe that this is a Band-Aid, it's going to need the governor to soften the restrictions to allow the commissioner to make this change [for] permanent at-home school," said Rubén Cortéz, state board of education member for District 2, which covers the lower Rio Grande Valley and portions of the Texas Gulf Coast.

Correction: This story incorrectly described the decision to delay in-person instructions at public and private schools. County health authorities, not county judges, issued the orders.


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