Superintendent: Tyler ISD prepared to offer facilities to help with COVID-19 response

Tyler Junior College, UT Tyler officials say those campuses are also ready to help

WATCH: Superintendent: Tyler ISD prepared to offer facilities to help with COVID-19 response

TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - Officials with the City of Tyler and Smith County, as well as community leaders, focused on plans and partnerships underway in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Smith County Judge Nathaniel Moran started Thursday’s press conference by talking about changes in the county since Friday. The number of confirmed. COVID-19 cases in Smith County has increases from 27 to 47.

Moran said today’s announcement will be about the plans and partnerships in development for “if and when they are necessary.”

One of those partnerships includes Tyler ISD. Superintendent Marty Crawford said the district is prepared to provide facilities that can be used for childcare for healthcare workers if there is a surge of COVID-19 patients.

Tyler Junior College President Juan Mejia says the campus also has facilities that could be used in the event of a surge of COVID-19 cases. The college is looking at possibly using one it its residential buildings for healthcare workers.

More details about those specific facilities will be announced on Monday, according to Heines.

“On our side, there is an extreme amount of work,” said Tyler Mayor Martin Heines. “We’re praying for the best, but we have to plan like the worst.”

“We’ve got a long month ahead,” Moran said.

A new campaign

Kevin East, CEO of The Mentoring Alliance in Tyler announced the launch of a new campaign called Love Your Neighbor.

East said volunteers can sign up to help fellow East Texans during this time, including being assigned a nursing facility where they can write letter to elderly residents. Click here for more information on the campaign.

Distance learning

Crawford also mentioned Tyler ISD’s distance learning program, saying the online system has seen more than 200,000 logins.

UT Tyler President Michael Tidwell talked about how the university is dealing with offering all instruction online.

He said one advantage is it means the students are social distancing. He also said there are some faculty members for which online teaching is new, but that there hasn’t been any complaints.

Tidwell said the goal remains to give students the highest quality education possible.

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Officials with the City of Tyler and Smith County will hold a press conference at 2 p.m. Thursday to discuss more on the COVID-19 pandemic.

Officials are expected to talk about how the city and county will be working to support the medical community as more cases are confirmed in East Texas.

KLTV will be streaming the press conference East Texas Now. Mobile users click here to watch live.

Speakers will include:

Smith County Judge Nathaniel Moran

Tyler Mayor Martin Heines

Tyler ISD Superintendent Marty Crawford

Tyler Junior College President Juan Mejia

UT Tyler President Michael Tidwell

Kevin East, CEO of the Mentoring Alliance in Tyler

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