Pandemic Learning

Northside Elementary student Kade Srubar works on an assignment during class earlier this week using a personal laptop and wearing a protective face mask. El Campo ISD remote learning students will have the opportunity to return to class in person later this month at the end of the nine weeks grading period. About half have indicated to district officials that they would like to remain enrolled in remote education due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

At least half of El Campo students who were learning remotely during the first weeks of the school year have opted to return to in-person classes in less than two weeks.

The district sent out a survey at the end of September for ECISD parents to select remote or in-person education for their students. The district has offered a remote learning option alongside traditional in-person education due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic since the 2020-2021 school year began on Aug. 19.

The survey covers parents’ selections for the second nine-week grading period of the school year and was due Thursday, Oct. 1.

Out of the surveys that were sent to the about 1,000 remote learning students, 734 were returned by the deadline. ECISD administrators report that, according to the surveys received, 361 students plan to come back in person while 373 will remain online.

“For every campus except the high school, (the survey results) were pretty much 50-50,” Assistant Superintendent Dolores Trevino said at a Tuesday school board meeting. “At the high school, there was a little bit (more) going to continue online.”

ECISD leaders found that about 70 percent of students attending remotely are currently failing at least one of their courses, but a very small number of students have not logged on at all this year. The district currently has about 3,500 students enrolled, and about 30 percent of students began the school year remotely.

So far this school year, ECISD has reported 21 student and six staff COVID-19 cases, according to the Department of State Health Services. Five new student cases and three new staff cases were reported the week of Oct. 4.

Louise ISD has no student or staff COVID-19 cases reported to DSHS since the school year began on Aug. 19, according to DSHS data as of Oct. 4.

Louise schools discontinued the COVID-19-era remote learning program due to low student performance and participation. All students were welcomed back on Sept. 29 for in-person education.

Those who did not complete the survey by the deadline are still going to be contacted by El Campo ISD to determine their plans for the next nine-weeks.

“The campuses are in the process of identifying those 300 people who failed to fill out the survey,” ECISD Superintendent Bob Callaghan said. “They’re calling them individually.”

Monday, Oct. 19 would have been the start of the second nine-weeks grading period of the school year, which ends Friday, Oct. 17, but administrators wanted to give teachers an extra day to prepare for an anticipated increase of in-person students.

The ECISD school board approved the designation of Oct. 19 as a student holiday and teacher work day so that faculty can better prepare for the next grading period.

In Texas public schools, 7,620 student COVID-19 cases have been reported since the start of the school year out of about 1.1 million students enrolled. As of Oct. 4, 5,227 staff cases have been reported at Texas public schools.

COVID-19 case counts are released weekly by DSHS at dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus/schools/texas-education-agency/. Beginning this week, DSHS will release the data at 5 p.m. on Thursdays instead of Wednesdays.

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