Health experts on how to prepare children for first days back to school

Published: Aug. 16, 2021 at 11:22 PM CDT
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LAREDO, Tex. (KGNS) - Many parents are still anxious since a large population of school aged children don’t qualify for vaccinations yet.

However, there were students and parents willing to set foot onto campuses around the city on Monday.

There’s no question this school year is being met with controversy and concern, but experts says it is perfectly normal for a child and parent to feel nervous.

Just make sure to offer them reassurance and remind them that their fellow classmates are going through the same changes.

On Monday morning, traffic across the city was heavier than it’s been in over a year and a half as parents tackle the challenges brought on by the pandemic.

“It’s different, but it’s nothing that we cannot get through,” said Justin Gonzalez, a UISD parent.

Traffic in the hallways also saw an increase as families guided the little ones into their classrooms, some for the first time.

Close to 32,000 students arrived at UISD.

“It’s been kind of tough because this is not a normal setting for a pre-K classroom,” said Graciela Ramirez Herndon, a teacher at Matias De Llano School. “We have desks instead of the carpet and the small groups, but we’ve been able to adapt and we’re going to have a wonderful school year.”

“It’s totally different online, face to face, they’re now able to interact more with teacher on a personal basis,” said Elsa Trejo, Newman pre-K teacher.

Now that children are back in the classroom, the district wants focus on finalizing their protocols to determine what to do if a child tests positive. They are looking at potentially hiring another batch of teachers just to teach online instruction.

“It’s been a busy morning,” said Gloria Rendon, UISD superintendent. “We’re trying to get organized with our procedures in place and everything, with traffic issues of course, since parents and students are not used to it, but for the most part, it seems, a normal school day. Our buses running a little late in some areas, but overall very positive.”

Partitions are visible in the elementary classrooms, and social distancing and masks currently being mandatory.

Health officials say if your child asks you about vaccines or wearing masks, make sure your explanations are simple and to the point.

While Monday’s numbers at UISD are encouraging, more than 9,000 students did not appear prior to attendance being taken in the morning.

United ISD has announced a revised agenda to their regularly scheduled meeting on Wednesday.

An emergency hearing was added to address any lingering concerns.

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