El Campo schools do not require students to wear uniforms, but parents feared the district’s dress code could cause extra financial stress in the upcoming school year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. After receiving community requests, El Campo ISD trustees are expected to approve the new rules this week.

About 200 comments were posted on ECISD’s social media page regarding the upcoming school year, with many being about the dress code, according to Superintendent Bob Callaghan.

The comments generally asserted that “with all the issues (from the COVID-19 pandemic), the shopping concerns and the financial concerns, trying to purchase school clothes that fit the dress code from last year would cause financial hardship,” Callaghan said Monday.

The dress code for El Campo ISD currently requires students to wear collared shirts with solid-colored bottoms. High school students are allowed to wear Ricebird or college-themed t-shirts daily while younger students can only wear these t-shirts on specific occasions.

Kaydi Gibson of El Campo has two children who attend elementary school at ECISD. While dress code is not her biggest worry for the upcoming school year, modifying the rules would be helpful, she said.

“It is going to be a challenge on its own to ensure (elementary students) are in the current dress code when they have to wear a mask,” Gibson said. “The elementary kids need the most relaxed dress code. That would help teachers out so they aren’t having to assist students with buttons, zippers, belts, etc.”

El Campoan Jamie Rubio has two children, one in eighth grade and one in fourth. The current dress code isn’t bad, Rubio said, but allowing more students to wear t-shirts could be beneficial.

“You can buy (t-shirts) locally and support small businesses,” Rubio said. “You could get them cheaply at Walmart. Parents don’t have to go out of town (to shop) or stress about if (a polo) is going to fit. Sometimes polos fit differently and must be tried on, which can’t happen now due to COVID-19.”

At a special meeting last week, ECISD trustees discussed dress code modifications, specifically regarding whether t-shirts should be allowed to be worn daily by younger students and whether shirts should be worn tucked in. The last time ECISD’s dress code was modified was in 2017.

Most board members were in favor of allowing Ricebird, college or sports team t-shirts to be worn, but whether they should be tucked in or untucked was debated. Trustees did not support completely ditching a dress code during the upcoming year.

“I’d be fine with untucked (t-shirts),” Board President James Russell said. But “we’re making (dress code) easier to enforce, so let’s enforce it. That means hair, shirts, appropriate attire, all those things.”

At Tuesday’s regular board meeting, trustees are set to approve dress code changes in the 2020-2021 student handbook. 

The board met at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, July 28, at the El Campo High School Auditorium, 600 W. Norris. 

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