Ector County ISD changes course, cancels school for next two weeks

ODESSA, Tx. (KOSA) -- Ector County ISD has announced that they will be closing all schools for at least the next two weeks due to concerns for the coronavirus.

The following was shared on the ECISD website:

Based on new information received from our Ector County ISD community, as well as new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) ECISD is making the decision to close all schools for a minimum of the next two weeks, March 16-27. School district leaders want to remind parents this situation is constantly evolving, and decisions made today may be adjusted as new information is received. To that end, District officials are advising parents to prepare as if the closure could last longer than two weeks.

While schools will be closed, the work of the district must continue. ECISD leaders are now working on plans to continue teaching and learning for all students, meal service, counseling and nursing support, graduation requirements, course selection for next year’s students, and business operations including payroll and hiring. These are crucial functions, and will require innovative solutions keeping health and safety at the forefront of the work. All of our ECISD team members and our families will have a role in making sure the work is completed and our students are supported.

On Thursday, district leaders asked principals to begin to contacting their faculty and staff in an effort to gauge how many people had traveled out of the country or to areas with active Coronavirus cases. After yesterday’s press conference, ECISD officials received an increase in responses from teachers, staff members, and families alerting them to the fact they had visited high-risk areas, that is areas considered by the CDC for the Level 3 Travel Health Notice. Others said they believe they had potentially been exposed to someone with the virus. This information, along with new CDC guidance that schools should consider closing as long as 8-20 weeks, led ECISD to alter its course and close schools beginning on Monday. We understand this decision will have major repercussions for businesses and families, but we believe it is in the best interest of our community’s health and safety

As of Saturday afternoon, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in either Ector County or Midland County but our communities are linked and ECISD leaders are in constant communication with Midland ISD. Both school districts are observing this two-week closure, a step that will allow our citizens the time to assess their own health, seek treatment if necessary, and track the presence of the illness in our cities.

We will continue to communicate plans and expectations frequently through phone calls and e-mails, media releases, social media and our website.

ECISD Superintendent Dr. Scott Muri and MISD Superintendent Orlando Riddock will hold a joint press conference tomorrow, March 15, at the UTPB Engineering Building at 2:00 p.m.