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Superintendent Cabrera: EPISD@HOME will help keep students on track academically

April 6, 2020

 

Dear EPISD Family: 

I hope you and your loved ones are healthy and doing well during these challenging times.  We hope that our efforts to provide learning at home and food distribution services helps to offer some consistency and stability as we manage our school closures. 

EPISD is working closely with city and county officials and remains closed until further notice so we can follow the Stay Home Work Safe order.  EPISD is committed to doing its part in curbing the spread of the dangerous COVID-19 (coronavirus) in our community. We urge you to follow the Stay Home Work Safe order and avoid going out unless absolutely necessary. Each one of us is responsible for doing our part in social distancing.  This will only work if we all do our part. 

The closure of our schools is a challenge for all of us, but the EPISD Family is up to the challenge. Last week we launched EPISD@HOME, the District’s distance learning program. The program is the result of tireless efforts from the District’s academics and technology teams who worked through their spring break holiday to make sure our students remain on track academically.

I’ve heard many wonderful stories of EPISD educators going above and beyond to make sure their students received the information and materials they needed to connect to EPISD@HOME. It was great seeing the Facebook, Twitter and Instagram photos and videos of happy kids learning from their kitchen tables. It was like the first day of school all over again!

While I’m very happy with the launch of EPISD@HOME, I know there were some glitches and some connectivity issues with Schoology.  We are 100 percent certain EPISD@HOME will be a valuable community resource, but we know there will be growing pains as we work hard to build our new school model.  Please know EPISD is fully committed to supporting our families and we appreciate your patience as we work to improve performance. 

Already, we are seeing more and more students access the EPISD@HOME portal without incident so that they can continue their education and stay on track with their academic goals. I want to thank everyone for their patience as we work through these issues. We will continue to get better and improve your school experience. 

There are also concerns about the availability of iPads and Wi-Fi hotspots for families who do not have connectivity at home. We distributed thousands of iPads to elementary-school students. For those who still need devices, we are working to meet everyone’s needs. The EPISD trustees recently approved funding that will allow us to buy more iPads and hotspots so that we can continue to distribute them to those families who need them. Thank you, trustees!

For families that lack connectivity or want a low-tech option, we are working on paper packets to help children continue their studies during the closure. More information will be announced soon.  

Of course, our response to the closures has gone beyond the launch of EPISD@HOME.

Thanks to the dedication of our Food and Nutrition Services team we are now distributing more than 20,000 meals to children every day. Our cafeteria workers are doing their best to make sure our students have access to healthy and delicious food, even when schools are closed. This is very important, and I am proud of our team members who are working hard to support our community with daily meals. 

I also want to thank the EPISD custodial and transportation staff who have worked non-stop cleaning and disinfecting classrooms, offices and buses. Thank you so much! 

As you can see, EPISD is setting the standard of excellence not just in El Paso but in the state for how we are responding to these unprecedented circumstances. There still are many unknowns as we continue our fight against COVID-19. Together, we will get through this and emerge stronger than ever.

Thank you, EPISD. And please stay healthy and safe in the comfort of your home.

#IAMEPISD #EPISDPROUD 

Sincerely,

Juan E. Cabrera, Superintendent