• 72°

Port Arthur, Nederland, PNG school districts planning to hold classes Monday

The World Health Organization officially declared the new novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak as a pandemic.

School districts across the country have responded by taking numerous safety measures.

Mid- and South County school districts leaders are taking extra precautions to prevent the spread of the contagion and prepare for student arrivals after Spring Break.

 PAISD

The Port Arthur Independent School District will continue classes on Monday as scheduled after an effective cleaning to all campuses.

Superintendent Mark Porterie said officials are monitoring the recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control, Texas Department of State Health Services and local health departments regarding the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

“We will continue to follow the recommendations of those who are most knowledgeable, and continue with the announcements and updates so everyone can be on one accord,” he said. “As we learn new information we are communicating it with our parents and staff.”

Porterie said PAISD is in communication with neighboring districts, Region V and state officials to keep the community up to date.

Information has recently been sent out on keeping hands clean and steps that can be taken to avoid spreading germs. Disinfecting procedures will continue daily.

All regularly scheduled activities will resume with the start of school.

NISD

Nederland Independent School District released statements on March 2 and 11 stating the situation is being closely monitored.

“While a new type of illness can be scary, we can protect our students, teachers and the broader community by using simple everyday actions that protect people from other types of respiratory viruses,” assistant superintendent Mike Laird said. “Our teachers, school, nurses and staff are working carefully to encourage the simple and effective habits of frequent hand washing, covering every cough or sneeze, and cleaning classroom tables, surfaces frequently.”

The school district is utilizing enhanced cleaning procedures, including specialized electrostatic sprayers in an effort to keep campuses disinfected. School buses are also being cleaned on a daily basis using the same protocol.

At this time, students and staff will return to school as scheduled on Monday with no variations to current calendar activities.

With Spring Break in full swing, Nederland officials are asking anyone who has traveled internationally to contact the principal of their campus for guidance. Individuals that have traveled to countries with Level Three Health notices (Iran, Italy, China and Korea) will not attend school until they have completed the recommended self-quarantine 14-day period.

“As we continue to learn more about COVID-19, we encourage our community to look to the Center of Disease Control for current and accurate information and continue proper hygiene,” Laird said. “The District will continue to post updates as they become available and new guidance is issued.”

PNGISD

Likewise, Port Neches-Groves Independent School District will also continue school on Monday.

“We are hoping to continue with normal activities once school resumes,” Superintendent Mike Gonzales said. “However, we are aware that TEA (Texas Education Agency) and the Commissioner of Education could possibly set restrictions or guidelines for local education agencies.”

Gonzales said disinfecting efforts began in January for all campuses, which are being cleaned thoroughly every weekend with the use of a 360-degree machine.

“PNGISD is always concerned with the safety of students and staff,” he said. “We are doing everything within our power to create the cleanest and healthiest campuses for our PNG families. We hope and pray to safely and quickly move past these scary and unsettling times.”

Information is being gathered every Thursday during routine phone conferences with the CDC. Updates will be given on the district’s website periodically.

In the meantime, parents and students are encouraged to continue using safe hygiene practices by washing hands, covering coughs and disinfecting surfaces.