Virtual back to school for Rio Hondo

RIO HONDO — Rio Hondo students return to school Monday — from their homes.

According to school officials, students will be attending school virtually for now with the option of having face-to-face classes on Sept. 28.

Superintendent Roger Ellis said the district is following recommendations and guidelines from the Cameron County Health Department and Cameron County Judge Eddie Treviño Jr.

“In listening to the information of the County Health person this morning, they are looking for particular numbers as far as new cases daily or weekly. They hope to open back the 28th, but I am not really sure,” Ellis said.

Depending on what happens in the next month, the Sept. 28 date could change.

“Everything we say and do can change. Trust me. It’s happened over the last three months, and I am not sure if it’s going to get any better,” he said.

Ellis has been superintendent for Rio Hondo ISD since the beginning of June.

He is not a Rio Grande Valley native but said he took on the job with readiness to get to work.

He said the initial date to hold face-to-face classes was Sept. 14. However, Ellis said he believes only 40 percent of the student population would have attended.

For now, teachers will attend their respective schools to teach their Zoom class.

Students who do not have a computer or Internet access at home should contact their assigned school for accommodations.

Extra help will be given, said Ellis.

“We have ordered 1,400 Chromebooks, and we are hoping for them to be coming in the next couple of weeks. But there is such a demand our goal is to order more. We also ordered 400 hotspots for anyone with no Internet at home,” he said.

Instructional packets will be sent as well, he said. Teachers will have contact with students to help with assignments, he said.

On top of the teacher’s help, the district has been using an app named Schoology to keep track of how students are doing.

While students are doing remote learning, student breakfast and lunch can be picked up from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the local elementary, middle and high school.

“Meals will be provided five days a week,” he said.