UVALDE, Texas — The school year will start in the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District on Sept. 6, to allow time for the district to add additional safety measures at each school campus.

Uvalde schools will open on the Tuesday after Labor Day, Superintendent Hal Harrell told the school board at its regular meeting on Monday night.

“As we move through this summer, we are making (up) considerable ground on improving and hardening our campuses,” Harrell said. “There’s also the matter of bringing in portables and setting those up with Wi-Fi, intercom, fire alarms, all that is necessary for a classroom.”

What You Need To Know

  • Uvalde will start the school year on Sept. 6 to allow time for safety measures to be added on each campus

  • Each campus will have new fencing, as well as metal detectors and a single point of entry

  • Uvalde expects to assign two police officers to each campus

  • The school district will take special care with emergency drills, knowing that it will be traumatic with some students

The late start will be slight adjustments in the existing calendar, Harrell said. UCISD will return from fall break on Oct. 19. Winter break will start Dec. 22, with students returning Jan. 4. The last day of school of school will be June 1, instead of May 24.

High school graduation will remain on May 26. Early season UIL competition dates before Sept. 6 will be rescheduled. The early start for high school athletics and band will remain in place.

Campus changes

Robb Elementary is permanently closed. The remaining campuses are Dalton, Flores, Batesville and Uvalde dual-language elementary campuses; plus, Morales Junior High and Uvalde High School, Uvalde Early College High School and the Crossroads Academy alternative campus.

Third and fourth grade will move to the Benson Educational Complex, Harrell said. Eight portables are being delivered and equipped on the Dalton Elementary campus site. At an earlier board meeting, Harrell said current students at Dalton, where the school district's youngest children attend, would not be asked to transition to a new campus.

Two groups currently at Benson will go elsewhere: Crossroads will move to portables on the district’s Oppenheimer Street property. Curriculum & Instruction will move to the north building of Flores.

Safety additions

Every campus will have a single entry point when the school year starts, Harrell said. The district also is interviewing vendors for metal detectors on campus. Those will be in place when school starts, he said.

“We are setting up single-point entry systems throughout the district for visitors,” Harrell said. “Once school has started for the day, then we will have one point of entry for any and all visitors as they approach campus.”

The creation of single-entry points will require the creation of a new entrance at both Morales Junior High and Batesville Elementary School, Harrell said.

Eight-foot security fences also will begin going up on district campuses, starting with Dalton Elementary, this week. Equipment for campus video camera systems arrived on Monday, Harrell said. A contractor will begin installing those systems this week.

An audit of Wi-Fi will also will be completed across the district this week, Harrell said. “We want to make sure that people have access when they need access,” he said.

Additional staffing

Uvalde school district leaders are consulting with outside police agencies on additional safety and staffing measures, from the best fencing materials to the presence of law enforcement on campus.

“I have asked and requested 30 to 40 DPS officers here on the first day,” Harrell said. “I won’t say throughout the school year, but I do expect a strong showing the first day. That’s an ongoing conversation with the DPS and the Texas Department of Emergency Management.”

A monitor also will be added to each campus. That person will continuously walk the campus throughout the day, checking safety measures such as gates, as well as interior and exterior doors.

“We want eyes on, feet out, people moving – invisible – throughout the day as back up to our UCISD officers,” Harrell said. “We will have one, if not two, police officers stationed at each campus as we go through the school year.”

School drills

The Uvalde schools already have announced it will have surprise campus inspections in the new school year. The school district also intends to take special precautions with fire and emergency drills.

“We will continue to have drills, but the protocol will be set up a little bit different as we move forward,” Harrell said. “We’ve talked about it – through our social emotional piece, as well – how to most effectively and most gently implement those without causing great concern.”

The first set of drills will be announced over the intercom system, without the loud alarms or noises. The goal will be to calmly introduce regular protocols on each campus.