DEL VALLE, Texas - Back to school is just around the corner, and Del Valle is the first district in the area to kick off classes, on Tuesday, August 9. In fact, Monday was the first day of in-person registration.
As families look ahead to the first day, school officials are assuring them school is safe with clear backpacks now a part of security requirements for some Del Valle ISD students.
You don’t have to tell second-grader Michael Dongu when the first day of school is.
"Starts in 14 days," said Dongu.
But two short weeks before classes begin at Del Valle Elementary, he, his mom and older sister got a little sneak peek. Dongu is transferring to public school, after being homeschooled.
"I’m looking forward to making more friends," said Dongu.
"It’s so nerve-wracking, but I’m so excited for him," said Dongu’s sister Debby Guzman.
Schools all across the district kicked off in-person registration Monday.
"Gives us the opportunity obviously to have that face to face time with our new students. They might be able to see the school that they’re going to in a few weeks. And it’s just another option for parents who need some guidance through the process," said Christopher Weddle, Executive Director of Communications with Del Valle ISD.
But top of mind for many of these families is safety and security in the wake of the Uvalde elementary school shooting two months ago.
"It’s a pretty safe school, it’s a good school," said Guzman. "I do worry for him every day. I live a few minutes away from here, but so much can happen in those few minutes, so I hope he’s in good hands."
District officials say they’re listening to those concerns and taking action.
"We have taken a really close look at all of our safety and security protocols and procedures, to ensure a safe environment for our students," said Weddle. "Our schools are still welcoming places for our students and families to be, but we are also mindful that parents expect a high level of security."
Part of that includes requiring clear backpacks for all students in grades 6 through 12.
"That is a procedure we had in place at the high school last year, and we’re going to have at middle schools this year. It’s just one additional way that we’re able to make sure that security is top-notch," said Weddle.
Del Valle isn’t alone. So far, districts, including Manor and Harper ISD, are also now requiring clear backpacks. Del Valle parents can pick one up next week.
"We will have free clear backpacks available for a limited amount of students at our back to school bash, which is on August 4 at Del Valle High School," said Weddle.
From security to academics, the district says it’s looking forward to passing a bond this spring to build a new high school to keep up with growth, and offering new programs like P-Tech at the high school, focusing on robotics and cybersecurity.
"We’re just really excited to welcome our students back in August," said Weddle.
In-person registration resumes Tuesday at 7 a.m., at schools throughout Del Valle ISD. In-person registration days are as follows:
- July 25, 26, 28: 7 a.m. - 5 p.m.
- July 27: 8 a.m. - 6:30 p.m.
For start dates for other Central Texas school districts, click here.