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ECISD looking into virtual learning options

As COVID-19 cases continue to surge, ECISD superintendent Scott Muri hopes that the entire district doesn't have to return to virtual learning.

ODESSA, Texas — Virtual learning could be coming back to school districts in Texas. However, Governor Greg Abbott would have to sign a bill that's reached his desk allowing the state to continue to fund schools if they do decide to move to an online environment.

ECISD superintendent Doctor Scott Muri sees online learning as a possibility for the district once again.

"We will, again in conjunction with our medical community, see what percentage of students with positive cases at a particular site would necessitate that we shut down that particular school situation because there is simply an outbreak of COVID within the school environment. So we continue to monitor all of our cases," Dr. Muri said.

If online learning does become necessary again, the goal is to keep it from being district wide.

"We much prefer for every single school to stay open. We are watching the numbers at each individual school, and at this point, if we had to close something it would potentially be a portion of a school or potentially a whole school. We do not anticipate at this time for district closure. It would be more an isolated incident," Dr. Muri said.

However, there are certain challenges that come with moving to online learning.

"Our challenge at this point in the game is going to be finding staff members to create that virtual environment for students because the law also said that teachers cannot do both. They cannot teach face-to-face and virtual at the same time," Dr. Muri said.

In the meantime, if schools are forced to close before the online environment is up and running, schools could be forced to make up those missed days.

"If we happen to close between now and the time that virtual learning would be stood up, we would have to make up the time that we missed, and that would create a significant hardship on our own staff as well as our families," Dr. Muri said.