- Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD
PSJA ISD expands COVID-19 Hotline, creates taskforce to prevent spread
PHARR – As part of the district’s efforts to maintain health and safety at the forefront, Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD (PSJA) has expanded its COVID-19 Hotline and measures for contact tracing in place.
First launched in the Spring, the PSJA COVID-19 Hotline has now been expanded into a multi-team operation including additional campus nurses and assistance from additional medical experts to serve staff, students, and parents.
The efforts are possible through a collaboration with “first responder” departments such as the PSJA Health Services Department, PSJA Operations Division, Human Resources Departments, and the Technology Department to assist all employees and supervisors with a mechanism to appropriately communicate employee actions should the employee exhibit symptoms of COVID-19 or come in direct contact with someone that is positive with COVID-19.
“We want to ensure that we are maintaining the safety and health of our entire PSJA Family,” said PSJA Superintendent Dr. Jorge L. Arredondo. “These collaborative measures are intended to streamline the process of identifying, communicating, and preventing further possible spread of COVID-19 cases. At PSJA, we were one of the first in the region to start a pandemic hotline to provide support during these uncertain times, and we recently hired a team of experts to support social and emotional needs of both students and staff as part of our new wraparound services.”
With the incorporation of a new Employee Wellness Counselor and Wraparound Specialists at the district level, the district's Health Services Department has increased the level of support provided to students and staff. In addition to social and emotional help, employees may also receive guidance and possible qualifications and documentation for Family Medical Leave, as needed.
According to PSJA Operations Chief Hestroverto Martinez, due to call volume and need from the PSJA COVID-19 Hotline, most recently the PSJA Health Services Department trained PSJA Athletic Trainers to help assist with calls and help conduct contact-tracing interviews to assess exposure. All information or exchanges during these calls are confidential.
“We want to encourage our PSJA Family to use the Hotline if needed,” said Martinez. “We have trained medical personnel that are working to answer any questions or worries our team members may have as the pandemic is still very present in our community."
In addition to the Hotline, most recently a PSJA Safety Compliance Taskforce was also implemented to do random support assessments at all district facilities to ensure proper health and safety protocols are followed at all times. To further build on communication, the district will be launching a live dashboard that will notify all district employees of district facilities that may be shutdown due to a probable case and are being disinfected.
This process, developed in-house, will ensure staff is kept informed of any and all situations that may arise during the 2020-2021 school year. The district encourages everyone to continue to remain vigilant and aware of health and safety protocols available.
“We strongly care for the safety of our employees. We want to let our employees know that they can reach out to us if they have any questions or concerns,” said PSJA Health Services Director Sulema Solis. “We have also recently partnered with various local and state agencies to provide more free COVID-19 testing sites in our community as the more identification we have, the most we can stop the spread."
Any PSJA employee, student, or parent who has been in contact with someone with COVID-19 or is experiencing any symptoms, can contact the PSJA COVID-19 Hotline at (956) 354-2015.