EPISD Reopening FAQs
The information provided below reflects the current guidelines and information available to date. We will update information as guidelines and directives change.
- How will the City of El Paso’s new orders affect the school year?
EPISD will comply with the city’s order and delay the reopening of schools until the order is lifted. All instruction, which begins Aug. 17, will be conducted virtually.
- How long will the options for instructional models be in place once schools open?
This will depend on local health guidance. We will bring all students back to regular, daily instruction when the conditions are safe to do so.
- What is the deadline to choose an option for instructional models?
We ask that parents make their selections as soon as possible. This information is critical to helping campuses plan. Parents can change their selections up until two weeks prior to the first day of school.
- How many students will be in each class if they go back to school?
This number will be based on the square footage of the classroom as well as six-foot social distancing between students. Student-teacher ratio will remain the same, 22 to 1 for pre-k through fourth grade and 26 to 1 for fifth grade.
- Will students be required to wear masks?
All students will be required to wear masks when they enter the building and while on campus. Students will be required to wear a mask while on the bus. During P.E. instruction, students will wear a mask and may take off the mask during physical activity while maintaining social distance. We will provide desk dividers for students who may not be able to tolerate wearing a mask all day.
- How will mask control be observed for students? What if a student refuses to wear a mask?
Wearing a mask will be part of the rituals and routines that are taught to all students. Students refusing to wear a mask will be placed in Group C (online learning).
- Are teachers required to wear masks? What are the protocols for teachers?
All EPISD employees will be required to wear a mask.
- Will teachers who provide virtual instruction do it from home?
EPISD will implement a phased-in approach to the re-entry of students into buildings. As long as all instructional models are virtual, teachers will be able to provide instruction from home. Once the various instructional models are implemented, all teachers will provide instruction from their classroom.
- Have other EPISD staff been affected by COVID-19?
There have been confirmed cases of COVID-19 among staff members. We are following CDC and local authority protocols to respect privacy. We will report to the public as indicated.
- Will students be required to take STAAR?
As of this time, the state has indicated that the STAAR requirements will be in place for this school year.
- Will EPISD offer regular testing of COVID?
EPISD Health Services is working on a plan to resume COVID-19 testing.
- Are students going to have a break after lunch?
There are two brain breaks built into the day.
- How will social distancing be enforced for circumstances like P.E.?
During P.E., students will maintain social distancing as monitored by P.E. coaches.
- What will lunch look like?
Lunch will vary at the elementary, middle and high levels. Lunch in the classroom will be allowed at all levels. We will provide individual (grab&go) lunches (no cafeteria). At the high-school level, students will not be allowed to leave campus during lunch.
- How will nurses assist?
School nurses will assist with screening students who may present symptoms. We will have isolated rooms for students being screened. Nurses also will maintain their regular duties of caring for students’ medical needs.
- Will teachers have a choice to work online or in person?
EPISD will implement a phased-in approach to the re-entry of students into buildings. As long as all instructional models are virtual, teachers will be able to provide instruction from home. Once the various instructional models are implemented, all teachers will provide instruction from their classroom. Teachers will be needed to assist with all instructional models. Final schedules and placement will be determined by parent responses to the reopening survey.
- How will pre-kinder and kinder teachers enforce social distancing rules?
Social distancing rules will be part of the ritual and routines established for all students and staff at a campus. In addition, student dividers will be provided for all levels PreK-2 to provide an additional barrier for these younger students that may not tolerate a mask all day.
- Will schools get more help from Central Office for supervision of students?
As always, Central Office administrators and staff will support campuses as needed.
- Has there been discussion regarding students who don’t practice social distancing?
Social distancing rules will be part of the ritual and routines established for all students and staff at a campus.
- If teachers have to go to work, can they bring their children with them?
No, unless the child is enrolled at that campus in option A, B or D.
- What safety measures will be in place for staff?
The district will provide personal protection equipment to every campus. District protocols have been developed to adhere to social distance guidelines. Employees also will be screened daily. The full reopening plan will be posted at episd.org/reopeningplan
- Will children be sharing equipment?
At this time, students will not share equipment.
- Will you have hand sanitizer available for all the kids and the classrooms?
The district will provide hand-sanitizer stations for all campuses. Disinfecting wipes will be provided for classrooms.
- How often will they be required to wash their hands?
We will encourage students and staff to follow all health guidelines. Signs will be placed throughout schools reminding students and staff of health protocols.
- Will teachers be given a stipend or compensated for using their devices - phones, internet, etc., at home to do school business?
All teachers are issued a District device, which can also be set up to take phone calls. EPISD will implement a phased-in approach to the re-entry of students into buildings. As long as all instructional models are virtual, teachers will be able to provide instruction from home. Once the various instructional models are implemented, all teachers will provide instruction from their classroom.
- How will the district hold parents/students accountable for attendance and grades?
Daily attendance and grading policies will be enforced. Teachers will follow policy for grading.
- How will social distancing be observed in portables?
A portable is a classroom. All classrooms will be set up to ensure social distancing.
- What safety measures will be in place for bus-riders?
We will practice social distancing on buses. Buses will be regularly disinfected.
- What if a child arrives sick or becomes ill at school?
Wellness checks will be provided daily. Students who are ill will be sent home.
- What is the schedule for instruction?
Direct instruction (synchronous), per TEA, grades 3-5 is 180 minutes and grades 6-12 is 240 minutes. TEA also states that students must receive a minimum of four hours of daily instruction in order to generate full day funding.
- Will the District monitor students for family exposure to the virus?
Due to privacy laws, we cannot ask families to reveal medical information.
- Will students receive get temperature checks while entering the school?
- What are the consequences for not following protocols?
Students and staff will be required to follow policies and procedures. Failure to comply will be handled administratively.
- Will virtual learning continue if the rise in cases does not decrease?
EPISD continuously monitors city/county health orders and guidance. We will adhere to local/state/federal guidelines/directives and adjust accordingly. At this time, all instruction will be conducted virtually until at least Sept. 7.
- What are the CDC guidelines for opening schools?
You can view the guidelines at cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/schools
- How will student drop-off and pick-up work?
Every campus will develop a plan for drop-off and pick-up to ensure the safety of students and adults.
- If a student or employee tests positive for the virus, will the district close that campus?
Campuses will follow the directives, as given, by the Superintendent and Health Services department.
- Can class sizes be downsized?
The number of students in a classroom is dependent upon square footage and social distancing guidelines.
- Can teachers hold classes outside?
Yes, depending upon the weather, space, appropriateness of learning space, and implementation of social distancing guidelines.
- Are school hours going to be the same?
The plan is to continue to implement the same instructional time schedule but that also depends upon the group parents choose and the number of students within those groups. That can affect whether there is enough classroom space for a full day or half day.
- Can a parent switch options after the school year begins?
This will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
- Will there be recess?
There are two brain breaks built into the day which will take the place of recess.
- Will playgrounds be used?
Students will not be allowed on playground structures for their safety.
- Will P.E. be outside?
Yes, for the most part, and with social distancing guidelines. P.E. may occur in the multipurpose rooms, with social distancing guidelines.
- What support will be given to students to help adjust to the changes?
Social Emotional Learning curriculum lessons are built into the students’ instructional schedule. Counselors will be available to support students as well. The present year’s teachers will be providing opportunities to meet their students and develop a rapport through various activities such as “meet and greet” orientations, class activities, and so on.
- How will students be able to socialize while staying safe?
Students will be required to wear masks and follow social distancing guidelines.
- Will morning care be outside now?
Every campus will develop a plan for drop-off in the morning to ensure the safety of students and adults.
- What about the kids with IEP? How will services be delivered?
Services will be delivered as per the IEP, based upon the ARD decision, no matter the Integrated Instruction Plan setting (option).
Will students enrolled in 100% virtual be eligible for extra-curricular or UIL activities?Yes, the TEA has made that allowance under the current circumstances.
- How will the City of El Paso’s new orders affect the school year?