Education

HISD Closes 16 Schools Where COVID-19 Detected

Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan may have to do some reconfiguring.
Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan may have to do some reconfiguring. Screenshot
Well this was probably not what Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan and her administration wanted to see as on just Day 2 of in-person classes, the Houston ISD has announced it is temporarily closing 16 campuses  where the coronavirus has been detected or is presumed to have arrived.

The schools that are being temporarily closed and scheduled for another round of deep-cleaning include Bellaire High, Daily Elementary, Foerster Elementary, Hines-Caldwell Elementary, Houston Academy for International Studies High, Lanier Middle, Lawson Middle, Lewis Elementary, Pershing Middle, Pilgrim Academy, Piney Point Elementary, Roberts Elementary, Valley West Elementary, Waltrip High, Westbury High and Whittier Elementary.

All students will be in virtual classes until after the clean-up is complete. Parents wil lbe notified when

On October 1, the HISD school board heard from a long line of public speakers asking the district to further delay in-person classes which Lathan was determined to do even though the district already had a waiver allowing it to wait until the first week in November to start classes. At the very least several asked for a staggered reopening, instead of letting in all the students at once.

But in a grand tour of the district's schools on Monday, Lathan, with appearances from Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and other dignitaries, celebrated the first day of in-person classes saying that they were essential for the students' "social-emotional well-being." 

And certainly the district has had profound difficulties in reconnecting up with its students — as of Monday 13,000 students out there still hadn't been located by HISD which means they weren't in any kind of class, virtual or in-person.

Gov. Abbott has threatened the state's public schools with a loss of funding if they didn't offer in-person classes by the start of November. Lathan has said she felt with the positivity rate of cases down around the 5 percent level that it was safe to invite students back in to the campuses. Since then, however, the positivity rate has been inching upwards. 
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Margaret Downing is the editor-in-chief who oversees the Houston Press newsroom and its online publication. She frequently writes on a wide range of subjects.
Contact: Margaret Downing