Premont ISD, facial shields, safety measures and parent response

Robin Bradshaw
Premon ISD staff checked temperatures of staff and children during summer school. They will continue to take safety precaution as they prepare for another school year.

The Premont Independent School District (PISD) prepares for in class instruction for the Fall semester with multiple precautionary measures and divided responses from local parents.

“The district is providing facial shields for student safety and also for a better learning tool. The shields provide a better instruction from teachers in English and language because the teacher needs to see the students pronunciation, ”said Premont Superintendent Steve VanMantre.

“I have received multiple calls from the other school districts on more information on the facial shields and what and how we as a district are providing safety and instruction.”

Premont ISD has spent close to 120,000 since March on precautionary measures to keep the kids safe and in school either in person or virtual.

“I cannot imagine what the bigger schools in other metro areas are paying,” said VanMantre. “School districts are supposed to be reimbursed from the Federal Government on 75 percent of COVID-19 costs.”

With school starting next month Premont ISD issued a parent survey on their children’s plan to return to in class instruction or virtual learning that resulted in a 75 percent participation rate.

Premont High School

70 percent for in class instruction

30 percent for stay at home virtual learning

Premont Intermediate Schools

55 percent for in class instruction

45 percent for stay at home virtual learning

Elementary had a higher than 50 percent rate to stay at home for virtual study.

Premont issued a guideline for high school students that choose to stay home for virtual study with restrictions to participate in UIL sport programs. The logic being if you feel unsafe to study in the classroom the same should apply to sports.

“We ultimately want the students back in the classroom because of better learning opportunities, but we are providing alternative options and extensive safety measures,” said VanMantre.

He was asked about the teachers response to in class instruction and safety, “I have not received any push back from teachers at this point but I assume I will. Under Federal Law they are protected to choose their own safety level and teachers with under lying health issues or senior citizens like myself need to make the best choices for themselves and I understand that.”

Premont ISD is finding innovative ways to keep their students safe. Everything from usually face shields to hula hoops to remind elementary students to social distance.