El Paso delays school openings due to COVID-19 concerns

El Paso delays school openings due to COVID-19 concerns
(Source: Hawaii News Now/file)

LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Public health officials have issued an order for all public and private schools in the city of El Paso to delay school openings until after September 7, 2020, due to concerns surrounding COVID-19. The order goes into affect Thursday, July 9.

Health and area school system officials met earlier this week to discuss ongoing preventative measures to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19.

This order from the Public Health Department also allows for virtual instruction to be implemented at the order of the school’s own plan.

This order also states extracurricular sports and activities shall not take place until school systems re-open for on-campus instruction.

“As positive COVID-19 cases continue to rise, it is imperative that we do what is best for the safety of school children and school employees,” said City-County Local Health Authority Dr. Hector Ocaranza. “Keeping our community safe is our priority and we implore residents to continue to firmly adhere to all safety precautions to slow the spread of the virus, to include practicing social distancing, frequently washing your hands and wearing a face covering.”

The official order can be read below:

As the situation regarding COVID-19 in El Paso is rapidly evolving with observed rapid rate of transmission through community spread, health officials are recommending the following guidance to local schools:

  • All school systems (public and private) shall not re-open schools for on-campus, face-to-face instruction until after September 7, 2020.
  • Virtual instruction shall be permitted as per a school system’s own plan.
  • To the extent permitted under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”), and consistent with the procedures required under the federal regulations and state rules implementing the IDEA, all children with special healthcare needs that are considered medically fragile under the IDEA shall not return to school for on-campus, face-to-face instruction, until the 2021-2022 school year.
  • Extracurricular sports and activities shall not take place until school systems re-open for on-campus instruction.
  • School systems shall develop a plan for re-opening on-campus activities and instruction and it make available to parents and the public, at least two weeks prior to reopening.

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