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Valley mother receives visit from truancy officer after keeping child from school due to COVID-19 concerns

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A Mercedes parent could soon be required to appear in truancy court after keeping her child out of school due to COVID-19 concerns.

“I heard about this nine-year-old that just recently passed away from COVID and it’s really scary,” said the mother, who wished to remain anonymous. “I do not want to be that parent. I don’t want to be that parent.”

RELATED: ‘No one is immune:’ 9-year-old Mercedes girl dies of COVID complications, Hidalgo County health authority confirms  

Two weeks ago was supposed to be her daughter’s first day in sixth grade. But the fear of losing her 11-year-old is driving the Mercedes mother to keep her child from re-entering the classroom.

“I feel it’s the safest option for her because I mean — I think this year is worse than last year,” the mother said. 

She has since been visited by a truancy officer.

“It’s an issue across the Valley,” said Mercedes ISD Superintendent Carolyn Mendiola. “There are parents who are fearful for the children and again, rightfully so.”

Mendiola says it’s something schools across the state are enforcing.

READ ALSO: Bill awaiting Abbott’s signature would fund limited virtual learning  

"That is our last resort,” Mendiola said. “We don't want that. We want to make sure we are conveying to our parents what the education code requires.”

Something that may provide help for Texas schools is Senate Bill 15, a bill that would allow funding for virtual learning for the next two years. However, it’s limited to ten percent of a school district’s population.

For Mercedes ISD, that means that option would be available to only about 400 students. The bill still awaits Gov. Greg Abbott’s signature.

And with homeschooling options hard to come by, the road ahead for this parent continues to be lined with uncertainty.

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