Here has Eagle Pass Independent School District, we are right on the border of the United States and Mexico. About 95% of our students are Hispanic and most of them speak Spanish. Ours is a tight-knit community where many people live next to family members, which is wonderful, but it has also posed challenges during the pandemic.
COVID kept roaming the community over and over again, and it was common to hear people talking about how they had it half a dozen times. The number of people who died in our community was heartbreaking and it scared a lot of people. The New York Times itself published a story in August 2020 on the high rate of new infections here.
When we moved back to all-in-person schooling, families didn’t want to send their students back to school. They were scared and they didn’t understand why we couldn’t do another year of virtual school.
Before the pandemic, we had excellent attendance. We are a Title I district, so many students were counting on the free breakfast and lunch they would receive to attend. But during the pandemic, our attendance was appallingly low. At its lowest point, attendance was around 5%, which put our funding at risk. Even after our schools reopened, attendance was only 70-73%.