Back to School

El Campo ISD schools may not re-open Aug. 12 despite an earlier announcement and months of calendar discussions.

No action was taken after the called school board trustee meeting Monday night, but not all district leaders were in favor of the current opening date. A soft start, where different grade levels would come back to school on a different day during the week, was also considered.

“Anytime between (Aug.) 12 and 31 we feel like we could make work,” ECISD Superintendent Bob Callaghan said.

Board President James Russell expressed reluctance to push back the school year, while others disagreed.

“When we voted on this calendar and having this start date of (Aug. 12), we knew COVID was out there, but we didn’t know it was going to come down to this,” Board member Susan Nohavitza said. “The anxiety and stress level of any teacher ... to get prepared for this school year, I just don’t think the number of professional development days is going to do it.”

El Campo ISD officials released the preliminary plan for the upcoming school semester Tuesday, addressing COVID-19 concerns such as sanitation, social distancing protocol and remote instruction plans. At the meeting, Callaghan said about 200 comments were made about the preliminary plan on social media.

Those comments, along with emails received from parents, will be considered in upcoming discussions, Callaghan said. A Return to Learn committee made up of teachers and community members will meet tonight.

Parents will have the choice between face-to-face education and remote schooling for their ECISD student. For remote education, districts have the option to utilize synchronous, in real-time, or asynchronous, where the student completes assignments on their own time, teaching methods.

The TEA is requiring school districts to submit methods, lesson plans and grading criteria for asynchronous and synchronous education before the school year begins.

At Monday’s meeting, the board unanimously approved ECISD’s plans for both types of remote education.

The board also discussed the district’s outlines for reopening amidst the coronavirus pandemic in the fall. The district plans to offer remote and in-person instruction in the 2020-2021 school year, constructing a plan that will be finalized on July 28 by the board. (For more information, see related article.)

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