ECISD Superintendent talks COVID-19 challenges, virtual learning

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Students wear masks in class during the pandemic, 2021 (Nexstar)

ECTOR COUNTY, Texas (Nexstar)- Ector County ISD Superintendent Dr. Scott Muri held a news conference Wednesday to update the community on coronavirus within the district. 

“COVID-19 continues to ravage our students and staff members,” Muri said. 

The district says it is averaging between 60 and 80 positive cases a day. As such, the district is calling on everyone in the community to do their part to help slow the spread. 

“We want to reiterate the importance of all our staff members and students wearing face masks when at school. We want to remind everyone to maintain as much distance as you can when you’re around your peers,” Muri said.

And of course, Muri also stressed the importance of hand washing and vaccines. With a grant from the Scharbauer foundation, the district has been able to offer an incentive to every staff member willing to get the vaccine. 

The rise in cases is alarming the district as more and more teachers are having to leave the classroom to quarantine. 

“This creates a significant hardship on all our schools,” Muri said. 

In some schools, staff are having to divide students into other classrooms as more and more teachers are getting sick. Illness is hitting some bus drivers, custodians, and cafeteria workers as well. Now, the district is watching the case numbers at each campus carefully to decide on temporarily shutting downindividual campuses. 

“We are monitoring our numbers. Our goal is to not have to shut the entire district down and transition to a virtual environment. We much prefer every single school to stay open,” Muri said. 

However, the district says it will temporarily shut down individual campuses if needed. Any days missed due to campus closure would be added on to the end of the year, according to Muri.  

Last week, is a special session, the state passed a bill that will fund virtual learning for the rest of the year should a district need to make that transition. With one caveat, the district would need to hire additional teachers for online learning. Classroom teachers are not allowed to teach virtually under the new bill. 

“We are unpacking that law and figuring out what it might mean for us. Our challenge at this point is going to be finding staff members to create that virtual environment for students,” Muri said. 

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