ENNIS — Back-to-school preparations the Ennis ISD has been working toward became more detailed this week when the district announced that - due to ongoing structural issues - the intermediate school will not open for the beginning of classes Aug. 27.
EISD Superintendent Dr. Eddie Dunn said the structural issues that have caused the school to be closed are not new issues for the building or the district.
“There have been problems with the building since it was built 10 years ago. The district has initiated an inspection that takes place prior to each school year to make sure that any safety issues are resolved before classes begin,” Dunn said. “This year there is an issue with excessive moisture under the concrete slab and will require more effort and more time to remedy, subsequently the building will not be available for the first day of school and most likely not for the first semester, if not the entire year.”
Due to many families being affected by the closure, the district is in the process of finalizing plans to have the fourth- and fifth-grade students start classes at alternate locations.
“We want the community to know that we understand this is a stressful situation and we are doing everything we can to make the transition for the students and faculty as smooth as possible,” Dunn said.
While details of the classroom restructuring are being worked out, tentative plans will see most of the fourth-grade students returning to the elementary schools they originally came from. The students will have their fourth-grade teachers with them, but will have to wait to make the transition to the new location until the issue is resolved.
Most of the fifth-grade students will be moved to the Sixth Grade Center, where they will attend some classes in portable classrooms. There will be a small number of fifth-graders at the elementary schools because several teachers work as a team and share curriculum.
The district is asking parents, students, faculty and staff to stay calm and know that the issue will be handled expediently and appropriately.
“The fourth- and fifth-grade students will start classes on the first day of school as planned. We will have a solid plan in place before the start of the school year for the children to start school in a good setting,” Dunn said.
Faculty members meet today to discuss the transition and parents are asked to attend an informational meeting Monday, Aug. 20, at San Jacinto Auditorium, 401 N. Gaines. Parents with fourth-grade students will meet at 5 p.m. and fifth-grade students and their parents will meet at 7 p.m.
“I promise to answer all questions that parents may have at the meeting and I would like everyone to know that the district is putting a plan in place to make sure that the kids will be taken care of to the fullest extent possible,” Dunn said.
Parents that cannot make the scheduled meeting for their child’s grade are welcome to attend the alternate meeting.
There will also be a voluntary pastor’s meeting at 3 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 19, in the EISD administration boardroom so churches can help spread the word.
“We want to reach as many people as we can with this development. It is important that the community understand what changes this development will mean for their families,” Dunn said. “It is also important to understand that the building will be operational again. It has not been condemned and all safety issues have been handled. No one is unsafe or at risk. We are on top of the situation.”