Cameron County Judge Eddie Treviño Jr. and Cameron County Health Authority Dr. James Castillo late Monday issued an order delaying in-person instruction by private and public schools until after Sept. 28.
As justification, the order cites Texas’ rank as the state with the third most COVID-19 infections in the nation on July 13, the fact that infections had increased 183% by Aug. 9, and that Cameron County currently has the eighth-most positive COVID-19 cases among Texas’ 254 counties.
The directive states that all area hospitals are operating at capacity and are unable to tolerate any increase in COVID-19 related hospitalizations. It says the order is supported by the mayors of each municipality in the county and by school district superintendents throughout the area.
The order says school districts are permitted to continue virtual/remote learning and provide curbside meals from school campuses while following federal, state and local guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19. In addition, school personnel are permitted to return to school facilities to conduct remote instruction, perform administrative duties and distribute meals.
Also, the order says that, to the extent permitted under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and consistent with federal guidelines, “students considered medically fragile, as determined by a licensed physician, may return to campus for face-to-face instruction” consistent with the students’ Individualized Education Plan as determined on a case-by-case basis.
Students in the Brownsville Independent School District are to begin classes on a distance learning-only basis on Aug.25. Similarly, classes in the Los Fresnos Consolidated Independent School District are to begin on the same basis on Sept. 8.
Catholic schools in the region are to start Aug. 31, also for distance learning only.