Schools extend Spring Break over coronavirus

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic school officials in Cameron and Willacy counties have decided to extend Spring Break vacation one more week for students only, according to press releases issued Tuesday.

There are currently no confirmed cases of coronavirus in the Rio Grande Valley, but these districts have decided to step forward for precautionary reasons.

Harlingen School District

In Harlingen, the decision was made to activate level two of the school district’s response plan.

“HCISD will suspend all normal school operations and close all HCISD schools for the week following our regularly scheduled Spring Break. The extended closure will occur March 23 to 27,” the press release stated.

According to the release, the extended closure is for students only. Faculty and staff will receive further communication regarding their return to work from administration within the next 48 hours.

School closures after March 27 have not been decided at this time, but as soon as decisions are made the district will inform parents, the press release stated.

Information regarding student meal offerings during the closure and instructional support for students at home will be provided as monitoring continues.

San Benito School District

Just like Harlingen, San Benito decided to extend vacation from March 23 to 27. According to the district’s press release, the extended closure is only for students.

All school and district sponsored student travel has been cancelled until further notice.

However, online lessons are being developed, and the district will provide instructional packets to those who do not have internet access.

Online lesson information will be sent to students and parents from their home campuses and packets will be delivered at bus pickup and drop-off locations.

Packets can also be picked by parents at students’ home campuses starting on Tuesday, March 24 from 1 to 4 p.m.

To help with online work, the district has made technology devices available for checkout to students in third to 12th grade.

Elementary campuses will be open for checkout from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., middle school campuses from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and high schools from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Breakfast and lunch will continue to be provided to students and will be delivered to all bus pickup and drop off locations. A schedule for these services will be posted at the district’s website and social media.

La Feria School District

Just like the rest of its neighboring school districts, La Feria ISD decided to extend closure from March 23 to 27 for students only.

In a press release, the district stated plans are underway to develop online lessons and instructional packets should there be a need to extend beyond that week.

Packets may be picked up by parents at students’ respective home campuses on March 30 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 4:30 to 5:30 p.m.

Breakfast and lunch will be provided to students from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Pick up locations will be at Noemi Dominguez Elementary and La Feria High School.

A schedule for these locations will be available online. The district is asking parents and students to monitor district and campus websites for further information.

Rio Hondo School District

Based on what the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention has said as well as local, state and federal officials, Rio Hondo ISD has activated level II of its approach plan March 25 and level III on March 26 and 27.

Level II will extend Spring Break for students only.

Level III will have school closure for students, except special education students who will attend for half days only from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., according to a press release.

All other pre-kindergarten to 12th grade students will receive remote instructional services via curriculum packets developed by teachers. Curriculum packets will be delivered to student residences on March 26.

Meal services will be offered to students via drive-through at each campus Thursday, March 26 and Friday, March 27.

Further decisions regarding extending school closure are pending.

Point Isabel School District

Point Isabel ISD also decided to extend Spring Break for students from March 23 to 27.

Additional school closures have not been decided yet according to the district’s press release.

Information about meal offerings and instructional support will be provided as the district learns more from governing agencies.

The district asked parents and children to follow the CDC safety guidelines in the mean time.

Lyford School District, Raymondville and San Perlita School Districts

Willacy County school districts have decided to extend school closures from March 23 to 27.

The three school districts have posted press releases stating breakfast and lunch will be provided and schedule and locations will be posted.

Depending on severity of the concerns, an additional extension will be considered.

All information will be shared via websites and social media postings.

The school districts would like to remind students and parents the STAAR testing has been cancelled for the 2020 Spring semester.

The school districts are waiting on details regarding changes in graduation requirements based on these changes.

A follow up will be provided next week regarding student attendance and services to be provided.