Donna ISD pushes first day of school to Sept. 8

The Donna school district postponed its first day of school to Sept. 8., adding two weeks to summer vacation to allow students and schools more time to prepare for the upcoming virtual fall semester.

This was approved on Tuesday at a school board meeting.

Donna ISD Superintendent Hafedh Azaiez said the decision is an effort to encourage the community to practice social distancing.

“We saw the need to push the first day by two weeks to allow folks to shelter in place and stay home,” he said. “It is going to be online instruction, but we as a school district still have to come out and do certain things. This will help everyone stay home as much as possible, to help the community flatten the curve.”

The superintendent said another reason the district extended summer vacation is to ensure that students and teachers are equipped and trained for online learning.

The district recently made a $5.7 purchase of iPads and Chromebooks for the entire student body, and they are still waiting on some devices to come in.

“We want to make sure that as much as possible, we have everything ready for the students,” Azaiez said.

He added that the time allows for teachers to receive more training for remote instruction, and make changes to the curriculum to best accommodate for online learning.

A $3.7 million project to install a dozen Wi-Fi towers across the city was also ratified at the Tuesday school board meeting, and Azaiez said he is hopeful that some towers will be up by Sept. 8.

“We aren’t going to get everything up in two weeks, but hopefully we will have more people connected,” he said.

The project is in partnership with WiFiRus, an Edinburg-based company.

“The pushback is unfortunate, but I believe that it is in the best interest of everyone,” Azaiez said.

The last day of school is now June 18, 2021.