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    The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted all our lives in countless ways but it hasn't changed Hidalgo ISD’s commitment to educating and meeting the needs of each student we serve. Because of the creativity, resiliency, and tenacity of our hard working students, parents, teachers, administrators and staff, classroom instruction as we knew it has extended beyond the four walls of our traditional classrooms and into the homes of the families we lovingly serve. On August 31, 2020 we unveiled our Remote Learning Plan as we began a school year like no other – with 100% remote learning from home.

    Under TEA guidelines, districts were allowed to start the school year virtually for four weeks, with an additional four weeks to allow for a safe, phase-in return to on-campus instruction with Board approval. On September 24th, Education Commissioner Morath provided extended relief to Texas schools by offering an additional 4-week waiver for phase-in instruction as a result of high incidences of COVID in identified hot spot areas across the state. With continued guidance from the Texas Education Agency, national/state/local health officials, and our Board of Trustees, we are prepared to take the Next Step to “phase students” back into in-person learning. It is important to note however that a Safe Start is a Strong Start so not all students will return at once.

    This Next Step includes the return of face-to-face instruction for a small number of students who were selected based on determined criteria. Beginning on Monday, October 5th, these students will be invited – but not required - to return to our schools in a very safe and controlled manner so that we are able to provide critical educational services and supports. During this period, all other students will continue withremote instruction. Additional information is outlined in this document.

    In preparation for the return of students and employees, HISD staff have worked diligently to make our schools safe and conducive to quality learning. Parents can rest assured that safety protocols will be strictly implemented and enforced including pre-screening for COVID-19 symptoms, the wearing of face masks, face shields, sanitizing stations, social distancing, modified classroom set ups, modified meal distribution, as well as professional grade facilities and transportation maintenance. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) will be provided to all students and staff.

    We truly believe that a Safe Start will be a Strong Start for all students and staff at Hidalgo ISD. This plan will outline the details for a safe and healthy return to our schools. The phase-in process will take time and patience – it may even be modified based on additional measures for safety that Commissioner Morath might announce in the next few weeks or months. Nevertheless, you can count on Hidalgo ISD to ensure that each child receives the quality education they deserve. Hidalgo ISD is the Place to Be!

    Xavier Salinas,
    Hidalgo ISD Superintendent of Schools