Travis Middle School parents and students faced long lines to pickup their Chromebook for the Calhoun County ISD's remote learning, March 25. The line stretched to Virginia Street. (DD Turner/Wave photo)

Calhoun County ISD began handing out students' chrome books and materials at Travis Middle School and Seadrift School.

Marcus Martinez, the head of the CCISD technology department, talked about remote learning and how it works for students and teachers.

Grades five through 12 will have access to Chrome Books.

“Teachers have used Google Classroom to flip their traditional classrooms to digital ones,” Martinez said. “The teacher can share announcements, assignments, and videos with their students through this digital platform.”

CCISD and students communicate with each other through Google Classroom and via email, Martinez said.

Martinez added the district has utilized “Google Hangout Meets” so they can foster student and teacher communication.

Assistant Superintendents Kelly Taylor and Maggie Herandez talked about the efforts of the technology department of getting the materials to the students for remote learning.

“Due to the heroic efforts of our principals and teachers,” Taylor said. “Remote learning is ready to be provided to students starting March 30…It has been a team effort shared with our technology department to prepare. The CCISD staff has been absolutely amazing.”

Remote learning is a new experience for the students and teachers of CCISD, Hernandez said.

“This new instructional model has our teachers virtually meeting using Google Meets to plan the instructional activities that will be shared with students beginning Monday, March 30,” Hernandez said. “All of our students have access to technology and computer programs on a daily basis during the school day in the presence of their teachers and other support staff.”

She added with remote learning, CCISD students will continue to use the instructional materials that they are familiar with, and teachers will be available to help students and answer questions via email, phone, or Google Classroom.

With this method, the students and teachers are practicing social distancing that the Center for Disease Control and Governor Gregg Abbot advise.

“It is so important that our community follow the recommendations shared by the CDC and our Governor. “ Hernandez stated. “There is so much we do not know. What we do know is that social distancing and hand washing is our best defense against Covid 19. We want our students to remain healthy. Teachers miss them very much.”

During these grim times, Martinez said the technology department and the district are striving to keep things as “routine as possible for the teachers and students at this time.”

“One of the ways we can do this for our community is to allow teachers the opportunity to teach, and students the opportunity to learn,” Martinez said. “Remote learning allows this to happen.”

According to Martinez, the district will provide hotspot locations from Texas Wavenet Wireless. He said the plan is to have public access from the parking lots of Calhoun High School, the back parking lot of JR Elementary, and the parking lot of Seadrift School.

“In order to prevent gathering indoors and complying with social distancing, the intent is to have parents/guardians drive up to the parking with the student to access the wifi,” Martinez said.

Martinez talked about the importance of having the hotspots for the students and parents that don’t have Internet access.

The hotspots will provide a “quick solution” for the families that need immediate Internet access, Martinez said.

He added that cell phone companies are offering “discounted” hotspots or unlimited data in response to the crisis.

The Chrome Books distributed to students on Wednesday are filtered and monitored by GoGuardian content filter, Martinez said.

Remote learning begins Monday, and Martinez “anticipates” the hot spots will be up by Monday also.