School district reaching out to students

HARLINGEN — The Harlingen school district spent last week holding emergency board meetings to decide a course of action during the coronavirus crisis.

In response to the coronavirus and in response to recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, all campuses are closed until further notice.

But that doesn’t mean school’s out.

The district has already finalized plans to make breakfast and lunch available to schoolchildren, and preparations are being made to offer instruction while the schools are closed. Online and offline classes are expected to begin by March 26 if not sooner, said Alicia Noyola, chief academic officer.

“The assignments for all that work are ready,” Noyola said. “We’re just working on the logistics to get all that off the ground in terms of curriculum.”

Those logistics involve serving more than 18,000 students in different grade levels and subject areas at 30 campuses while they’re in their homes.

“We are working to create a website for online instructional delivery for remote learning,” Noyola said.

For those students who have no computers or Internet access at home, sites will be set up for them to pick up paper assignments. As plans are completed, information will be posted at

Last week, the website posted these developments.

“HCISD will be offering phone support for students, parents, and staff who need help with technology,” says the site. “Assistant Superintendent for Elementary Education Lori Romero will oversee all elementary services. Assistant Superintendent for Secondary Education Joseph Villarreal will oversee all secondary services. Assistant Superintendent for District Operations Oscar Tapia will oversee child nutrition and meal distribution. Assistant Superintendent for Human Services Debbie Scogin will oversee personnel.”

Noyola said the district has been developing a hypothetical model for confronting not only this health concern but also any others that may arise in the future.

“We are dealing with students who are trying to adjust to this new normal,” she said. “This is a big learning opportunity for everybody. It’s unprecedented.”

School counselors are also trying to find ways to work with students who may have trouble coping with the situation. School, after all, is an important social activity for children as well as an educational endeavor. Virtual learning will be a difficult adjustment for some.

However, they won’t have to worry about getting enough to eat. The district has created a program called Good To Go Meal Pick Ups which begins Monday.

To learn more about the Good To Go Meal Pickups and where to pick up breakfast and lunch, go to the website.