MARSHALL, Texas (KLTV) - Marshall ISD’s students and faculty members have already had several days to get used to the “new normal” of starting a school year amidst a pandemic because school started on Aug. 13.
Dr. Jerry Gibson, Marshall ISD’s superintendent, spoke to Good Morning East Texas anchor Erika Bazaldua Tuesday morning about some of the challenges they faced and will continue to face well into the 2020-2021 school year.
Gibson said the students’ safety has always been the No. 1 concern for Marshall ISD’s administrators, teachers, and staff, and he added that their focus on safety has intensified since the COVID-19 pandemic started earlier this year.
Marshall ISD’s faculty members are having to deal with a wide range of issues like encouraging younger students to always keep their masks or face shields on and maintain their social distancing. At the same time, teachers also have to teach their students, Gibson said.
Even though Gov. Greg Abbott has not required Texas school districts to do it, Gibson said they have been taking students’ temperatures at the morning drop-off time, so they can track that data.
“That made the first day even more challenging,” Gibson said.
He said that the school district also encouraged parents to drop off and pick up students as much as possible to allow for more social distancing on the school buses. As a result, there was a long drop-off line on the first day of school.
Gibson said his campus principals rose to the occasion by creating several drop-off lanes, and the process went smoothly as a result.
When asked how he hopes to continue Marshall ISD’s success, Gibson said they will just press on and do what needs to be done. He said they will watch the data for each student instead of just each grade level.
Gibson said another challenge is related to the technology needed for distance learning. He added that about 26 percent of Marshall ISD’s students are doing virtual learning. However, Marshall ISD students who take multiple classes have to be logged in when the teacher is teaching in the actual classroom.
The MISD superintendent said although faculty members and administrators have had to remind students about social distancing, they haven’t had to remind anyone to put his or her mask on.
Marshall ISD has about 5,400 students and seven different campuses.