The Brownsville Independent School District has announced that it will only provide in-person instruction during the 2021-2022 school year due to the Texas Legislature not offering funding for virtual instruction.

Superintendent Rene Gutierrez on Thursday released a letter to the BISD community saying the district is ready to welcome students to return for in-person instruction for the 2021-2022 school year and added the district is excited and ready for the students to go back and learn in the classrooms to close the learning gaps affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The letter states that in preparation for the in-person instruction, the district has modified the Safe Return to In-person Instruction and Continuity of Services Plan for the students to safely return to school. According to the letter, students with underlying health conditions may qualify for homebound instruction based on doctor’s orders.

“Actually, with the doctor’s order is not virtual instruction. We are going to have to provide teachers to go to the homes,” Gutierrez said in an interview Friday.

“We need to go back to having that direct contact with students because virtual instruction has not been as effective in the learning process and we need to do more, doing direct instruction with the students and their teacher.”

Gutierrez said officials want to bring the students back to in- person instruction because of the learning gaps that they have. He said virtual instruction was not as effective for the majority of the students this last school year.

“There has been a decline in their learning. So, it is important to bring them back into the classroom so we can start working with students in the classroom to fill those learning gaps that they have,” he said.

“We understand that there are concerns because of the COVID virus and students who are younger than 12 years old are not allowed to have the vaccine. However, as a school district we have all the safety protocols in place.”

Gutierrez said personal protective equipment will be provided as well as training to ensure that the students and staff are safe this upcoming school year.

On the BISD’s official website, it states that there will be several safety protocols in place for the face-to-face learning mode to minimize the risk of exposure of COVID-19 for students, staff and families.

These are some of the safety protocols that will be implemented according to the website:

>> All employees, students, parents, and essential visitors will undergo daily screenings conducted by screening monitors within each location

>> When asking individuals if they have symptoms of COVID-19, administrative staff or district nurses must only require the individual to provide a “yes” or “no” answer to the overall statement that they are symptomatic for COVID-19, as opposed to asking the individual for specific symptom confirmation

>> If the screening yields a “yes” response to any symptom questionnaire, the employee will be sent home, and a student will be escorted to a holding room until the parent or guardian is able to pick them up. If the employee or students tests positive, they will need to meet the criteria for re-entry. All of the questionnaires will be destroyed for the employee who has been cleared to re-enter the school building

>> Training provided for parents through Parental Involvement on COVID-19 symptoms and safety protocols will be provided

>> Non-essential visitors will not be allowed in the building

>> Each campus will assign a COVID-19 program coordinator. The COVID-19 coordinator will communicate concerns, challenges, and lessons learned about COVID-19 preventive activities as needed with staff, students/families, school and district leadership, and local health officials

>> The COVID-19 coordinator will monitor COVID-19 Status at the campus. The coordinator will ensure appropriate notification is provided in a timely manner

>> Classrooms will be reconfigured to ensure, to the extent possible, social distancing at least 3 feet of space. Some school areas will not meet this recommendation, but campus administrators will ensure these recommended guidelines are followed in areas that can be reconfigured

>> BISD will have social distancing floor/seating markings throughout campus. Mark 6 feet of spacing to remind students and staff to always stay 6 feet apart in lines, and at other times they may congregate (e.g., during lunch, arrival and dismissal, restrooms, locker roos, etc.)

On social media, parents expressed their thoughts and said it is time to go back to in-person learning because there will never be a normal again. Others said they think is too soon considering children younger than 12 years of age are not able to get vaccinated.

It’s unknown if other school districts in Region One will follow the same guidelines. Officials at the Region One could not be reached for comment.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced this week it is going back to recommending the use of facial masks indoors in public if a person lives in an area of substantial or high transmission, even if vaccinated.

The recommendation comes as there has been an increase in the Delta variant that is causing vaccine breakthrough infections.

For more information about BISD’s safety protocols, visit

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