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El Paso area students, teachers gear up for online instruction due to virus

EL PASO, Texas -- Coronavirus restrictions may have shut a lot of operations down, but school is still is session -- virtually.

The El Paso Independent School District, Canutillo Independent School District, University of Texas at El Paso and New Mexico State University all began online instruction Monday. The Ysleta Independent School District transitions April 6.

School districts and universities are creating online portals, providing resources like technology and instructions for students, parents and teachers to help them transition online.

"We have taken everything that we’ve do in the four walls of a classroom and we have transitioned that to a digital platform," said Dr. Tamekia Brown, chief academic officer for EPISD in a video posted on EPISD's YouTube page. “EPISD at home is our way to still provide instruction to our students at all levels but even more than that EPISD at home is also our way to provide social and emotional support to our families."

The Socorro Independent School District already began classes this past week.

"I know I speak for many when I say, 'yay, we survived our first week of remote learning," said SISD Superintendent Jose Espinoza, also in a YouTube video congratulating students, parents and teachers. "

Teachers are also feeling the impact. One SISD high school teacher told ABC-7 the transition has had it's ups and downs.

“It’s definitely been a very stressful time," said Carlye Flores, a science teacher at Mission Valley Early College High School. "But after I got over the initial stress of trying to organize myself and trying to see what was available to me I kind of buckled down and went through everything that I’ve taught in the past couple of years and just had to reformat it for my kids," Flores said.

Flores said not being able to teach her students face-to-face has been challenging but is trying to make sure her instructions are clear.

“I know it's a very stressful and frustrating time for everyone anyway. I don’t want to add to that for them by piling on too much as we all try to transition to the online education program.” 

Flores’s advice to teachers gearing up for the big change: Get to know your resources which include your colleagues. 

“It’s been a long week. (My colleagues and I have) definitely checked in with each other numerous times...I kind of had to have a pep talk with myself, essential starting off with that i could this and that my kiddos can do this too," Flores said.

Flores recommends parents, teachers and students also stick to a routine whenever possible to make learning at home feel more like a classroom. She also advises that families review district websites and contact technological support when needed.

"I think it's important also to have a routine because I've noticed that initially it can be very stressful to get yourself organized in a different kind of space, trying to utilize all your resources" she said.

El Paso / News

Brianna Chavez

Brianna Chavez is an ABC-7 reporter/producer.


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