EL PASO, Texas (KVIA) -- The City/County Health Authority of El Paso issued a new order Thursday that delays the start of in-person classes for all schools in the county until after Sept. 7.
El Paso's Health Authority, along with city and county leaders, met with school superintendents earlier this week to discuss the change. It's all in an effort to reduce the spread of the coronavirus as the county deals with a surge in cases.
“Keeping our community safe is our priority and we implore residents to continue to firmly adhere to all safety precautions to slow the spread of the virus, to include practicing social distancing, frequently washing your hands and wearing a face covering," Health Authority Dr. Hector Ocaranza said.
The order does allow schools to begin online teaching before Sept. 7.
The El Paso Independent School District released a statement announcing that its first day of in-person classes for its students will be Sept. 8. Virtual instruction for all students will now begin Aug. 17. Previously, first day of school had been Aug. 3.
The order also has restrictions for students who are considered "medically fragile," and they will not be allowed to return on campus until the 2021-2022 school year.
The order states:
"To the extent permitted under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”), and consistent with the procedures required under the federal regulations and state rules implementing the IDEA, all children with special healthcare needs that are considered medically fragile under the IDEA shall not return to school for on-campus, face-to-face instruction, until the 2021-2022 school year."
All sporting and extracurricular events will also not be allowed to occur until schools physically reopen for students.