HELOTES, Texas — There are days when Albert Martinez Jr. ponders the future of his childrens' well-being as coronavirus cases surge across Texas.
The husband and father of six worries and wonders as another school year approaches. This year, the Martinez family is taking no chances.
"They're just little germ factories. Right now, we're not ready to send our kids back," Martinez said.
It was last June when Martinez's wife gave birth to little Harlow. Their bright light of joy fought the ultimate battle.
"She was born with Down syndrome and a lot of different heart complications and unfortunately she didn't survive past two and a half months," Martinez said.
The thought of losing another child is unbearable for the Martinez family.
Ten-year-old Sadie also has Down syndrome and lives with underlying health conditions. Sadie's about to enter 5th grade at Kuentz Elementary but from a distance.
"There's just too much uncertainty, too much danger, especially for our family situation with Sadie having her respiratory issues that she has," Martinez said.
The Northside Independent School District (NISD) is offering in-person and distance learning options come August.
NISD is also working on forming a safety plan in accordance with state and local health guidelines.
A combination of NISD-hosted town halls and surveys is designed to generate feedback on how to best serve students, staff and faculty amid the pandemic.
While Martinez applauds the school district's efforts, he remains skeptical on how this global health crisis will play out.
"It is terrifying for -- just to think what could happen if this virus got into our house," Martinez said. "For Sadie, the little girl who's not even supposed to be here, she wasn't supposed to survive, to see her graduate 5th grade with every other 10-year-old in the district, typical like everybody else, I would love to see that happen but there's no telling right now."
The family will eventually welcome another addition to the family -- Tobias William Martinez.