CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — With the start of a new school year less than two weeks away, the Corpus Christi Independent School District unveiled its plan for returning to classrooms during the COVID-19 pandemic.
CCISD’s reopening plan is more than 60 pages long, and comprehensive. However, the head of one local teachers' union said it leaves some major questions unanswered.
“I know people worked hard on it: It’s detailed, it’s meticulous, but it’s ambitious,” said Corpus Christi American Federation of Teachers President Nancy Vera.
According to Vera, tops on teachers’ list of concerns is having to clean and sanitize classrooms between lessons to avoid spreading the novel coronavirus.
“The state should be finding these types of resources — the resources we need to clean the classrooms adequately; by professionals,” she said.
However, the district said everyone will need to pitch in to keep campuses safe.
“We need everybody’s help there — even students cleaning their area using a wipe,” said CCISD Public Information Officer Leanne Libby.
Other concerns include proper air filtration and proper training for new technology. CCISD said the plan isn’t set in stone.
“We’re working very hard to look at every factor and make our decisions in the best interest of safety," Libby said.
Then there’s the question of class sizes.
“Initially we were told 10 students in a classroom — tops,” said Vera.
The district didn’t address class sizes in the plan because many families still are deciding whether or not to send their kids back to campus.
“We will continue to look at the numbers as registration comes in, as we get closer to reopening schools,” Libby said.
The first day of school, Aug. 13, will be done remotely. CCISD plans to open its campuses Sept. 8. Vera said that’s too soon to send anyone back.
“Sending students back, sending teachers back, sending employees back to school is not a good idea right now,” she said.
Vera said she’s heard from several teachers who aren’t comfortable going back into the classroom, and who have said they will choose to spend the year teaching remotely, or on an unpaid leave of absence.