ECISD reopening plan gets national notice

Posted on October 6, 2020

By Ruth Campbell

Ector County ISD has received national notice as one of five school reopening plans that can be used as models for the rest of the country.

In a media call Wednesday, Superintendent Scott Muri said the AASA, a national school superintendents organization, and Transcend recognized ECISD.

Along with ECISD, information from Transcend includes Cleveland Metropolitan School District, Desoto Independent School District, Lindsay Unified School District and Miami-Dade Public Schools.

Led by Deputy Superintendent Stephanie Howard, Muri noted that a task force made up of teachers, administrators, students, parents, central office employees and others worked on the reopening plan for months.

AASA and Transcend looked at school opening plans nationwide and identified five that they considered innovative and that would help other schools across the nation in having a “healthy opening,” Muri said.

“And ours was selected to be one of the five. It was shared with school districts all over the United States as a premier opening of schools plan so I want to commend the entire task force … We want them to be recognized and validated for their work.”

He added that he has a colleague in Georgia and noticed that the colleague’s school opening plan for their system of about 180,000 students “was very similar to our plan and they had used some of our components to drive the work in their organization, so we are happy to share the really good work that was done in ECISD with school districts from across the country and we appreciate AASA, as well as Transcend for recognizing the good work happening in Ector County ISD for the students that we serve.”

On the subject of football, or Friday Night Lights, the first games will not be until Sept. 24 and 25.

“Our football teams are preparing; the band is preparing; our cheerleaders and dancers, but also the folks that work in the concession stands; our security officers are preparing; our staff members that support that experience; our athletic teams; our athletic department is busy preparing for a wonderful opportunity for our students,” Muri said.

The University Interscholastic League has put rules in place for everyone involved from fans to players, band members and cheerleaders, he added.

While the games are open to the public, the district will only seat about 30 percent of the normal capacity in the stadiums to keep everybody safe, Muri said.

“This year, all of our fans are required to wear a face covering at all times. We will have those available at the gates when people enter, but we encourage all of our fans to wear a face covering as they enter the game,” Muri said.

“The high schools are each selling face coverings in their team colors,” he added. “We encourage our fans to visit one of the high schools and pick up one of those face coverings, but again they’ll be required throughout the game this year. We also are requiring social distancing, so a minimum of six feet apart. You can certainly sit with your family group but families must be at least six feet or more apart. We are partitioning off our stands and we’ll make sure that we make those areas easily identifiable to our fans. We will be providing concessions this year, but again in a modified format as we must maintain social distancing during half times and between the quarters of our games. Our bands, cheerleaders and dancers will be performing as well as our athletes will be on the field this year. Things will look a little bit different for them. Face coverings will be required for those individuals with the exception of the time that they are actually in performance mode. When a football play is happening, the players do not have to wear a face covering, but as soon as the play is over they are required to put a face covering on. Our cheerleaders, when they are actually cheering they don’t have to wear a face covering, but the times when they are not participating in a cheer they are required to wear one.

The same with our band and dancers; whenever they are in performance mode, they are not required to wear a face covering but as soon as that performance is over they must re-cover their faces,” Muri said.

All fans, staff members and students attending the game must wear face coverings.

“We will do everything we can to make sure the fans, our students, athletes and musicians are safe in that environment,” Muri added.

Games also will be broadcast on local TV and radio stations. For more information, people may visit the ECISD website.

Ruth Campbell covers education for the Odessa American. Reach her at 432-333-7765 or