ODESSA, Texas — Online learning is going to be the new normal for a majority of school districts around the country, at least for the first few weeks of the 2020-2021 school year, and ECISD is no different.
While a small number of students will attend in-person classes, the majority of students in ECISD will start the year learning online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
ECISD is taking all of the necessary precautions to keep the teachers and students who return to campus safe.
The district says that they are relying heavily on medical experts at this time so that the district can open itself up to more students in the future.
"We’ve implemented all of their suggestions and all of the recommendations and plans, and we’re going to do everything that we possibly can to keep people safe as they’re entering," ECISD Communications Officer Michael Adkins said.
Some of those suggestions include mandatory masks and face shields for all of the teachers in the district while they're on campus.
"One of the suggestions was that it’s a totally different ballgame if teachers in the classrooms with kids and on campus are wearing a mask and a face shield. So our original plan required face masks for everybody on campus," Adkins said.
All students in 4th grade and up returning to campus will be required to wear a face mask at all times on campus.
For students in 3rd grade and below, it's recommended that they wear a face mask, but it will not be required for those students.
ECISD is also taking action to make sure every student who learns at home has access to all the necessary resources for school.
This includes purchasing thousands of tablets and Chromebooks for students who need them as well as getting students internet access at home for the school year.
"We’re working really hard to try to get Internet access everywhere as well so that our kids can access all of the different resources and the learning applications and the platforms that we're to use throughout the year," Adkins said.
Adkins also said the extra time to plan for the school year during the summer has allowed for teachers to provide a much better learning environment for students.
"We’ve got a structure in place to connect with kids and give them a much more scheduled and face-to-face experience then we were able to do in the spring," Adkins said.
ECISD is also asking families to self-screen and report every day if someone is experiencing any symptoms out of the ordinary and stay home if they do.