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East Texas superintendents share lessons learned through school year during the pandemic

Updated: May. 20, 2021 at 3:47 PM CDT
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EAST TEXAS (KLTV/KTRE) - Eleven superintendents of East Texas school districts joined East Texas Now to discuss their experiences through the school year during the pandemic.

After a year full of challenges and hard decisions, Tyler ISD Superintendent Dr. Marty Crawford said with COVID-19 restrictions starting to be relaxed he is looking forward to the next school year being a more normal one, even while some areas are still dealing with serious regulations.

Crawford explained, “they have not been open, some of them are still not back open, and so some of those protocols we put in place, while uncomfortable, we did it for a year.”

Multiple superintendents said they are happy the so-called COVID slide or education regression due to the events was not as bad as anticipated.

Chapel Hill ISD Superintendent Lamond Dean said “we are extremely excited about the fact that we have not had as much regression as the assumption was that we would have, so with that, we feel like we have a great point to start off and rebound even more at a greater level as we approach the 2022 school year.”

School superintendents agreed one of the best moves they made this year was being committed to transparency regarding COVID numbers and protocols.

Overton ISD Superintendent Stephen Dubose said “I think being transparent has really improved it for us. You know we don’t have any secrets on anything whether it’s how many cases we’ve had, we’ve tried to answer everything like that. And I think that was a big learning thing for everyone, it’s that we are all in this together whether it’s a big community or a small community you know, we’ve got to work together.”

Districts said they will remain vigilant against COVID-19. Longview ISD superintendent Dr. James Wilcox said the district lost a teacher to the virus this year and that has created a heightened awareness for the district.

Wilcox explained “one of our teachers died from COVID after several months of hospitalization and that has increased awareness. When you lose a staff member, it hits pretty close to home.”

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