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Parents should keep children home, Castro says
Although Dilley students had been notified during the holiday that they would be expected on campus for the start of the spring semester Tuesday, January 5, the district administration amended its call for fully open campuses late last week, asking parents to keep their children home.
The Jan. 1 decision puts Dilley ISD in line with Pearsall and Cotulla schools in enacting measures aimed at preventing the spread of the coronavirus in the local population.
DISD Superintendent Dr. Emilio Castro wrote to parents and staff last Friday and said plans to have the district completely reopened with a maximum number of students in class for live instruction had to be shelved because support staff heading the district’s COVID-19 testing program are unable to return to work.
Furthermore, Supt. Castro said, a shipment of coronavirus test kits ordered by the district for rapid testing of all staff had not arrived at the end of last week.
“Out of an abundance of caution, and due to the expected COVID-19 spike after the holidays, I am requesting [that] all parents and guardians keep their children home for remote instruction until January 18,” the superintendent wrote.
The school district has announced that there are no plans to halt athletics and student involvement in sports. Those activities will continue as scheduled until further notice.
Parents who cannot keep their children home during the school day and who wish to send them to class during the first two weeks of the new semester will still be able to do so, the superintendent said, as all teachers and support staff will be reporting for work on their respective campuses. Dilley ISD reopened Monday, Jan. 4, for a teacher training day; classes were set to resume Tuesday.
In support of the stay-home request, Dilley ISD is making school breakfast and lunch service available for curbside pickup daily from 10 a.m. to noon at the elementary school. Arrangements can also be made through the district for students to have their meals delivered to them at home. Parents should call their children’s campuses to ask for meal delivery.
The superintendent said last week that the school district is in close contact with Frio Regional Hospital to procure a delivery of rapid test kits.
In an earlier memo to district parents, students and staff, the superintendent noted that he hoped all teachers would be tested for the coronavirus before the start of the new semester and that they would be available to give instruction at the beginning of January. In the event that an insufficient number were able to return to school, he said, Dilley ISD is prepared to switch all instruction to its remote program, in which students stay home and receive their instruction over the internet.
All students being kept home at the start of the new semester are required to log on to their computers for remote instruction daily; attendance is recorded by the district. Parents who fail to allow their children to engage in remote instruction may be cited by law enforcement officers and face prosecution for contributing to truancy.