IDEA ready for new school year

HARLINGEN — Right on time.

IDEA Public Schools will open Aug. 10 as planned, with new precautions in place to keep kids safe.

IDEA comprises 96 campuses in Texas and Louisiana, including several in Hidalgo and Cameron counties.

The district has just announced its “Start Strong 2020” plan for the 2020-21 school year, which was created after input from the Texas Education Agency and more than 4,000 parents, said a news release.

“IDEA has opted to keep their academic calendar as previous shared,” the release stated. “Should an outbreak occur, time will be added at the end of the school year.”

Jennifer Flores, communications manager for IDEA, said students have the option of receiving  either online or face-to-face instruction, depending on the campus.

“IDEA parents shared their feedback in preliminary conversations,” Flores said in the release. “But IDEA will now offer two learning paths and would like to hear from families once more. All IDEA families will receive a letter this week via email and text with instructions on how to provide their feedback.”

Schools will be following up with individual families to learn preferences in July.

In conjunction with state and federal agencies, IDEA is closely monitoring the evolving pandemic and the impact it will have on next school year, the release said.

“Safety has always been important to us at IDEA Public Schools, but this year, it’s even more important,” said JoAnn Gama, CEO and superintendent of IDEA Public Schools.

“We know the decision to send your child to school this year is a difficult one,” she added. “We want our parents to know that we are implementing measures to ensure students and staff are protected and the needs of our entire community are considered.”

Like many school districts, IDEA Public Schools is providing technology devices, such as computers or tablets, to all its students free of charge.