With its 200,000-plus students stuck at home while the city copes with the COVID-19 pandemic, Houston ISD announced Monday that it is launching an online learning program aimed at keeping kids educated while schools are closed.
All HISD campuses are closed until at least April 13 in an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19, the upper-respiratory disease caused by the new strain of coronavirus. The district said all of its high school students (grades 9-12) have district-issued laptops.
“HISD @ H.O.M.E.,” which stands for home-based online mobile education, will include grade-level curriculum and subject matter “designed to maintain productive instruction for students using computers, laptops, tablets, iPads or smartphones,” the district said in a news release. It will be accessible from each school’s main webpage or by visiting houstonisd.org/HOME.
This week, HISD said students will be able to log in and interact with digital resources. Beginning next week, curriculum-based lessons and activities will go live.
Also this week, HISD said teachers will reach out to families to assess the digital access needs of each student so campuses can determine the number of paper-based resources schools will need to provide. An online survey also is being conducted at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/9VPFZ5Q.
HISD said webinars will be held to help parents with accessing digital instructional materials, with a webinar schedule to be announced soon.
HISD also said its Social and Emotional Learning department is working to upload online lessons, activities and videos that students and parents can engage in at home. HISD Wraparound Services is working on similar communications and virtual supports, according to the district.
At least one area private school also is teaching students while they are at home. St. Pius X High School said it began distance learning on Wednesday, with online classes scheduled to run through April 9. The school at 811 W. Donovan St. tentatively plans to reopen April 14.