ODESSA/ MIDLAND,TX (Big 2/ Fox 24) – The start of the new school year is quickly approaching, but the ongoing corona virus outbreak has caused a lot of uncertainty on how classrooms will look like this year.
“We have to closely monitor the health conditions of our own community,” Ector County ISD Superintendent Dr. Scott Muri said. “We cannot be the contributor to a growing COVID-19 increase in Ector County.”
While cases of COVID-19 continue to surge here in the basin, Dr. Muri said the district is planning to hold in person classes with social distancing guidelines, as well as online classes for now. But that could change if the outbreak worsens.
“Should we have a large spike of COVID during the month of November lets say, we may have to close our district completely so everyone will have to go from face to face into a virtual environment,” Dr, Muri said.
But the cost to maintain every ones safety both at home and in the classroom will go up this school year.
“So operating school this year in this environment is going to be very expensive,” Dr, Muri said. “So not only do we depend on the funding we typically receive, but we are very dependent upon the federal government to provide some money and hopefully that will happen.”
Midland ISD is also planning a virtual school for students, Superintendent Orlando Riddick says the district will continue to monitor the outbreak before they decide to hold classes face to face.
“The likelihood of all students reporting back face to face, probably not,” Riddick said “So we have a strategy and a plan that says that if things change between now and then, we have a plan to say okay we know what all in looks like and what all in face to face instruction looks like which is optimal.
But whatever school may look like this fall, Riddick said this will be a learning experience not only for his district but for schools across the state.
” We’re putting all bright minds together,” Riddick said. “But there is some unknown that we did not prepare fore that’s gonna confront us at some point in time that we have to be ready for and then learn and then pivot and adjust and then navigate what that could look like.”
Midland ISD is also planning to release a survey to teachers, staff and parents to hear their concerns.
Both Midland ISD and Ector County ISD will continue to provide free breakfast and lunch to their students, But whatever happens this school year both districts are committed in keeping their students and staff safe.