Friday, April 17, 2020
It is now official. This afternoon Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued an executive order closing all schools in Texas for the remainder of the year. What a strange situation to realize we will not be back together until August. Emotions will rise with this announcement. Please take care of yourself, your family and check in on your students again. You are doing amazing work, and our community will need it to continue for a while longer. Here is one bit of news coverage of today’s announcement.
With that comes the following: all remaining school activities are cancelled, including formal graduation ceremonies. We are already working on ways to honor the Class of 2020: with virtual graduation ceremonies, lighting up Ratliff Stadium on the graduation nights, purchasing yard signs to recognize each graduate at home, and seeking ideas for a community event to celebrate these awesome kids. We are also promising to hold a formal graduation ceremony for the Class of 2020…someday. We do not know when will be able to do it, but we will do it. All who can or want to, will get the chance to cross the stage at some point.
The next big question surrounds grading and promotion. Please remember that schools are physically closed but Remote Learning is still going through May 21. Students who stop working now are in danger of losing substantial ground academically and being unprepared to start school next year. This is a chance to improve, not regress. Our curriculum team has been working to develop guidelines beginning with the principal of “doing no harm” to students. You can view these guidelines here.
Also, summer school will be a virtual experience of summer learning. Of course, we will be talking more about all of these things in the coming days and weeks.
Friday, April 3, 2020
- Regrettably, ECISD will not be able to continue serving weekend meals beginning this weekend, April 4-5. Our School Lunch Program is based on a regular school week, Monday through Friday. In the immediate response to school closures that was waived and allowed us to include weekend meals. We do not know the reason for the federal guidance that reverts the program back to the regular school week. We will keep trying to find the means to bring back weekend meals. Our District is fully committed to feeding our community’s kids throughout this school closure. In fact, as this week ends our School Nutrition Department has now prepared and served more than 300,000 meals since starting this “Grab and Go” service on March 17.
- ECISD is now providing a facility for police, fire and rescue personnel who have potentially come in contact with someone who has COVID-19. This was requested by the local Emergency Management operations center. This facility provides bedding, a shower and restrooms for first responders, our first line of defense, who are potentially exposed to the virus and do not want to possibly carry it home to their families.
Tuesday, March 31, 2020
- Ector County ISD is extending the current school closure through Friday, May 1. This decision is in alignment with the Limited Shelter in Place declared by the Mayor of Odessa, and the federal government’s guidance to continue implementing social distancing guidelines through the month of April. In accordance with this decision, all District activities, contests, and events scheduled through May 1 are cancelled or postponed. READ THE FULL ANNOUNCEMENT HERE
- Later this afternoon, Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued an executive order closing all schools until May 4.
Monday, March 30, 2020
- Last week we asked parents to send us feedback on our remote learning and they responded with very good perspectives and suggestions. Based on what we heard from parents we have: 1. Reduced the amount of instruction for week number two. Parents should see a difference in the time it takes students to complete work; 2. Given parents more support. You will see more details in the plans. We loaded instructional videos for Algebra I so students can watch an Algebra I teacher teach the concepts. We will add more videos for more courses next week; 3. We redesigned the Remote Learning web pages to make it easier to navigate and find instructions for accessing student technology. We welcome additional feedback to help us improve the remote learning we deliver for your child.
- When we realized we would not be returning to our classrooms after Spring Break, one of our priorities was to have a teacher or other staff member get in touch with every student. They have been working very hard to do that. Our ECISD police officers are now beginning to conduct welfare checks to talk with the students we have not been able to reach. This is one more way that we hope to connect with our families and support them in any way we can.
- With the identification of Ector County’s first confirmed cases of COVID-19 over the weekend, and the Mayor’s Limited Shelter in Place Order given this afternoon, we are evaluating our current school closure dates. Our community’s situation is very different than when we left work last Friday and we expect to have finalized plans to announce tomorrow. READ THE ENTIRE MAYORS PROCLAMATION HERE
Friday, March 27, 2020
- Beginning on Monday, March 30, our meal schedule is changing in several ways. First, there will be only one window for meal service – daily from 10:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. During this time, you can receive breakfast and lunch, so only one trip to the school is required each day. Second, we are closing 4 serving locations (New Tech Odessa, Hays Elementary, Reagan Elementary and Lamar EEC). On Wednesday, April 1, we will be opening 2 new locations (West Odessa Volunteer Fire Department and South Ector Volunteer Fire Department). Please see the link on web page for the full list of locations.
- ECISD is taking an additional step to protect against the spread of COVID-19 in our community and will be closing all District buildings to public access, beginning on Monday, March 30. Someone will be available to answer the phones and accept deliveries between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. each day, however, buildings will not be open to visits from the public. Thank you for helping us keep each other safe.
- We are excited to announce we have a Remote Learning Technology Help Desk for Families up and running now. Beginning Monday, March 30, and available Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. call 432-456-0013. The first point of contact when a student or family is having problems with software, hardware or applications is the student’s teacher, this help line is for:
- The family can call the Remote Learning Technology Help Desk to schedule an appointment to resolve a technology problem
- An Instructional Technology Specialist will call the family during the time block selected to work through the technology problem
- The available call back appointment times are 8am -8pm Mon-Fri
Thursday, March 26, 2020
- “Handle with Care”. In our continuous effort to provide trauma-related services to our kids – even as they are away from school during this time – our local law enforcement agencies are working closely with our ECISD police and counselors to alert us if they find a child in any situation that they may need follow up with support and care. This will give counselors the chance to provide additional services for the student and family.
- As we try to make things easier on our families, we are consolidating our meal service to just one time per day. Starting on Monday, March 30, parents and students can go to our meal locations between 10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. and pick up both breakfast and lunch at the same time. Just one trip to a school will be required each day. Some of the feeding locations will be adjusted, too, with a couple of them closing, and new ones being added. At this time, kids must still be present in order to receive a meal.
- Our district leaders got quite a nice surprise Thursday afternoon when the Education Commissioner Mike Morath dropped in, via computer, to our District’s daily conference call. Commissioner Morath offered encouragement to all of our teachers and staff members. He said he is impressed with the digital education already being delivered by ECISD teachers. He lauded that work being put into place in less than two weeks. We were honored to have him as part of our meeting.
- Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued a new executive order on Thursday requiring all visitors arriving to Texas by plane from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut or New Orleans to register with the Texas Department of Public Safety and quarantine themselves for 14 days or until they leave the state. READ MORE HERE
Tuesday, March 24, 2020
- A dedicated Student and Family Support Line will be up and running beginning at 7:00 a.m. on Wednesday morning (March 25th). The phone number, 456-4357 (456-HELP), will be available from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. Our ECISD Guidance & Counseling Department and Social Work Department are proud to offer this service.
- Soon, ECISD will establish a child care center at Zavala Elementary School for the medical community, in order for doctors, nurses and others to be at work while schools remain closed. Initially, it will be open to employees of Odessa Regional Medical Center and Medical Center Hospital, for children ages birth to 10, and a maximum of 140 kids. As this child care center becomes operational, it potentially could be expanded to serve more students, for expanded hours, and for other critical community providers as identified by City and County leaders.
Monday, March 23, 2020
- This first day or remote learning brought some challenges for our Ector County ISD Family. They are challenges we will meet. We are committed to providing high-quality learning experiences for all of our students, even while our schools are closed. Our students and our families deserve it. It will be difficult on many parents, and we promise to support you with resources and advice. It will also be difficult on our teachers who are focused on teaching while also taking care of their own families. We promise to support you, too. It will also be a process that will get easier as we go through it. We will keep high expectations for students and high expectations for our teachers, and we must do this work together. We must do this work for our kids. You can send questions and comments to your child’s teacher, your school or submit them via our @EctorCountyISD Facebook page or through e-mail at CoronavirusQuestions@ectorcountyisd.org
- On March 19, the University Interscholastic League (UIL) extended its suspension of all UIL sanctioned activities due to the outbreak of COVID-19 in Texas. All contests, practices, rehearsals and workouts will remain suspended until further notice. The earliest games and contests may resume is May 4. READ THE FULL UIL PRESS RELEASE HERE
- From the Ector County Health Department: Odessa hospitals are using their urgent care clinics located throughout the county as testing sites. There are two methods for being tested for COVID-19: 1. Private physicians or 2. Government testing. Refer to this guide for CDC testing criteria. Today, Medical Center Hospital opened a call center for screening, 432-640-2747. Citizens can call 2-1-1 to be directed to low or no cost providers.
Sunday, March 22, 2020
- Remote learning begins in force tomorrow morning – we know it has already begun for many. Parents and students, it is important to keep the structure of a daily schedule that includes times for learning, reading and exercise/fun. Also, set up a quiet, designated spot for lessons and studying, then share pictures of your Pop Up Classroom with us on our @EctorCountyISD Twitter feed.
- Beginning in the morning (March 23), there will be one new location for the meals served by our ECISD School Nutrition Department – at the Goldsmith Community Center, 310 Avenue H, Goldsmith, Texas. Breakfast is served 7:30-9:00 a.m., lunch is served from 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. School Nutrition is working to open more sites, and we will update those locations here.
- ECISD schools and administrative offices are reducing hours of operation for visits from the public. Business hours will be 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. Also, in order to adhere to social distancing guidelines and reduce the number of people on campus or in offices at any one time, we ask that if you need to visit one of our locations please call ahead and set up an appointment time.
Friday, March 20, 2020
- ECISD has a revamped its COVID-19 web page to help you navigate the next two weeks of learning from home. Assignment boards for each grade, help for parents, and technology links for our teachers are among the items. So, is a section devoted to stress and anxiety you may be feeling. Please access this page often - www.ectorcountyisd.org/covid19 Parents, if you have not talked with someone at your child’s school yet, please call and make contact with them. It is very important that you stay in touch with your child’s teacher and principal during this time away from school.
- Per our Governor’s order yesterday, beginning on Monday, March 23, only employees deemed critical to maintain the daily operation of our school district will be working on site. Along those lines, ECISD buildings will be open to the public from 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. To help us comply with government guidelines on social distancing we ask the public to please call to make an appointment before you visit one of our schools or offices. That will help us limit the size of groups in our buildings. We appreciate your help with this.
- Our School Nutrition Department received a waiver to offer multiple meals for students to take home for the weekend, and today we served a staggering 17,194 meals. For the week, we served 35,226 meals to kids in our community.
Thursday, March 19, 2020
Texas Governor Greg Abbott declared all schools in Texas will be closed through Friday, April 3, meaning ECISD’s school closure will last for one additional week. He did state all school districts should continue to provide instruction for students. Governor Abbott also declared only employees critical to the daily function of government agencies should report to work. All who can work from home, should do so as often as possible. READ MORE ABOUT TODAY’S ANNOUNCEMENT HERE
ECISD was already preparing for this possibility. Today and tomorrow teachers are reporting to their schools in order to gather materials, resources, and the student data they need to contact students and teach from home during the time schools are closed. By the end of the day Friday, every student should receive a call from their teacher, checking on them and letting them know assignments and activities will be coming. Everything you and your child need will be loaded on our website by the end of this week.
School nurses are on campus this week so parents can retrieve their student’s prescription medications or medical devices. Please call the nurse at your school if you need help with this.
Wednesday, March 18, 2020
ECISD School Nutrition began serving breakfasts Wednesday morning, giving out 647 of them on this first day. They also served 4,262 lunches. The department is working on plans to deliver meals to neighborhoods throughout Ector County. For now, breakfast and lunch are available at all ECISD campuses, except for the early college high schools and the Alternative Center. SEE THE LOCATIONS, DATES, TIMES AND MENUS HERE
More food support is on the way. The West Texas Food Bank announced it will continue its Food 2 Kids program for weekend meals for the next two weeks. Parents can drive up to the Boys & Girls Clubs – 800 E. 13th Street, and 1476 N. Knox – between 4:00-7:00 p.m. on March 20 and March 27 and receive a bag of food for the weekend, when school meals are not being served.
Odessa Mayor David Turner declared a state of local disaster and public health emergency for the City of Odessa. As of Wednesday, there were no confirmed cases of Coronavirus in Ector County or Midland County. The disaster declaration was done to give the City the ability to react more quickly should our situation change. It also limits public gatherings to no more than 50 people, with a few specific exceptions. READ MORE ABOUT THE DECLARATION HERE
Tuesday, March 17, 2020
Our Ector County ISD Board of Trustees approved one policy update and three resolutions that mean all regular ECISD employees – contractual and noncontractual, salaries and non-salaried – shall continue to be paid for their regular duty schedule. THE MEETING RECAP IS HERE.
School counselors returned to school Tuesday and are available by phone or e-mail to talk to students or families who need help. If you are feeling overwhelmed or anxious during this time our counselors are waiting to talk to you.
Our School Nutrition Department served a little more than 1,506 lunches today. They will begin serving breakfast on Wednesday morning. Drop by any school (except the early college high schools and Alternative Center) to pick up a bag through their curb-side service. SEE THE LOCATIONS, DATES, TIMES, AND MENU HERE
Monday, March 16, 2020
ECISD School Nutrition establishes a system for providing meals for students each day during the closure. Free meal service will begin at lunch on Tuesday. Breakfasts will be available beginning on Wednesday morning. SEE THE LOCATIONS, DATES, TIMES AND MENU HERE
ECISD Curriculum & Instruction continues work on the methods for teachers to teach and for students to learn during this closure. First priority for parents, is to set up a daily routine for their kids which includes regular times for getting up and going to bed; specified academic time (reading and writing are important); creative time; and time to exercise.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott suspends STAAR testing for the Spring 2020 semester. READ THE ANNOUNCEMENT HERE
The CDC announces new guidance, asking citizens to limit social gathering to 10 or fewer people. READ THE ANNOUNCEMENT HERE
Sunday, March 15, 2020
ECISD Superintendent Dr. Scott Muri and Midland ISD Superintendent Orlando Riddick hold a joint press conference to talk about school closures, and to outline the immediate priorities for their school districts. Those priorities are setting up daily meal service for students, and establishing the means for delivering instruction during the closure. SEE THE ENTIRE PRESS CONFERENCE HERE