Texas State Attorney General Jim Paxton has ruled that religious private schools in the state are free to make their own determination as far as when to open their campus for in person instruction regardless of any state or local order.

Much has been reported regarding what public school districts are required to do as far as instruction for the upcoming school year.  To recap, all public schools in El Paso must begin the school year with online classes and as of today at least, the earliest they can offer in person instruction is September 8.  With that said, it’s important to note that not all children in El Paso attend public schools or public charter schools.

The opinion levied by the Attorney General allows for area religious private schools such as Loretto, Cathedral, and St. Mark's to name a few to decide to what extent if any they will offer virtual classes.  Cathedral High School’s website already has a virtual fall schedule posted and St. Mark’s' website has a message posted that they will comply with the current health order by beginning with online classes but as of September 8, they will resume in person instruction.  As of the writing of this article, it is not yet clear from Loretto’s website what their plan for the 2020-2021 school year is other than their first day of school is August 12.  Of course there are many more religious schools in El Paso, so make sure to check their websites and contact the school directly if they have not yet announced their instructional plans for the upcoming year.

The ruling and whatever decisions these institutions make has the potential to leave some families feeling torn as far keeping their children enrolled at schools with deeply personal ties to them should they feel that the safety of the students due to the COVID-19 pandemic cannot be assured.  However, that is a concern that all parents currently face whether their children are enrolled in a public or private school.

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