EPISD Responds to Teacher’s Concerns Over Reopening
Many teachers within EPISD have expressed concerns over the reopening of schools. I reached out to Gustavo Reveles, who is a Director of Community Engagement.
The following are the questions I presented to Mr. Reveles followed by his responses.
Why were ADA exemptions revoked for the teachers? I’ve heard stories of some teachers getting a notice the day before they needed to return to school that theirs had been revoked.
ADA is a federal program, not a school district program. Therefore, we don't have the authority to revoke. ADA expired as per federal timelines on Dec. 31. We notified employees of this timeline and asked them to contact HR to renew. We are working with them to expedite ADA requests.
Was school reopening rushed because the district was afraid of losing money?
I wouldn't classify the reopening of on-campus instruction as rushed (that's an editorialized term). We are reopening campuses for instruction because the Texas Education Agency requires us to do so. This is a state mandate, not a district decision.
Many teachers are complaining that they aren’t being provided with enough supplies to keep their classrooms clean and sanitary, including being told to bring their own hand sanitizer and that most of the bathrooms don’t even have soap. How do you respond to this claim, and how do we ensure the teachers are given the proper supplies, including PPE?
The federal government provided the District with sufficient PPE and other supplies that have been distributed to campuses. Teachers and employees should consult their principal or supervisor if they feel they are not being provided PPE. However, we know we have supplies that have been distributed throughout the District.
What steps were taken to clean the schools before they opened? I heard one story about there being cockroaches in the same place last week as they were back when the teachers went to pick up their stuff last school year.
Our custodians have been working for months to sanitize and clean all facilities in anticipation of our reopening. This includes the disinfecting of surfaces on a daily basis. Here's a video that may answer your question
So what is the best solution? I'm still not sure. I know that some teachers are still not going to feel safe, while others are fine with it. Some parents won't feel safe sending their children to school while others will. I have learned one thing though, but more on that in the future.