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Port Arthur ISD outlines virtual summer program dates, school concepts

The Port Arthur Independent School District is moving forward with an all-virtual learning summer school program starting on June 8.

District officials approved the program at this week’s virtual board meeting despite the Texas Education Agency’s announcement earlier this month that class may resume face-to-face on June 1.

Dr. Melvin Getwood, Dr. Kim Vine and Carmen Hudson answered questions on the district’s decision in unison.

“In the interest of the safety and well-being of our students and staff members, Port Arthur ISD chose to hold summer school virtually rather than in-person,” the trio responded. “District officials carefully reviewed the guidance documents provided by the governor, TEA and the Center for Disease Control in order to determine the most effective and safest way to provide summer learning opportunities.”

Port Arthur ISD will offer summer school, at no cost, to elementary and secondary students required to attend to meet district requirements.

The Extended School Year Program and Bilingual PreK-Kindergarten Enrichment Program will also be held virtually.

Each Port Arthur ISD campus will host its own virtual summer school program from June 8 to July 2 Monday-Thursday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Each school will have a Lead Remote Learning Team with virtual summer school teachers available during virtual office hours to provide targeted instruction and personalized academic assistance with assignments.

Hudson, PAISD’s at-risk supervisor said, “with our training, technical assistance, and teamwork, we anticipate significant academic growth.”

The academic consultants recommended tips for staying on track during online instruction:

  • Check your learning platform each day to learn about the expectations for classwork.
  • Follow the Honor Code at all times.
  • Follow the norms of communication set by teachers.
  • Find a comfortable, distraction-free place in your home to work and study.
  • Prepare your work area for live teacher-led instruction in advance.
  • Complete all assignments by the due date.
  • Put forth your best effort and communicate with teacher when needed.

Port Arthur ISD’s decision follows Nederland Independent School District and Lamar State College Port Arthur’s decisions to continue education online for summer courses.

Safety protocols stated for in-person classes include limiting the number of people in classrooms, checking students’ body temperature daily, keeping desks 6 feet apart and limiting the enclosed classrooms to 11, including the teacher.

Texas State Teachers Association, or TSTA, shared its opinion on the June 1 reopening: “It’s too early.”

TSTA President Noel Candelaria said in press release May 20 that Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is creating an illusion that the worst of this health crisis is behind us.

“It is not,” he stated. “People are still getting sick and dying in large numbers and reopening school buildings too soon will increase the peril.”