Houston ISD announced Monday that it will close all of its schools and facilities from July 3-19 in response to the recent rise of COVID-19 cases throughout the city.
HISD, the largest school district in Texas with approximately than 210,000 students, said students with district-issued laptops can keep them until the fall in order to reduce the need for on-campus interaction. The district also is cancelling all athletic practices, which the statewide governing body for extracurricular activities has permitted since June 8.
HISD said in a news release that it will continue to operate virtually and provide educational services, and the Hattie Mae White Educational Support Center will remain open for limited purposes at 4400 W. 18th St. The district’s Curbside Summer Meals program also will continue to operate, with free meals provided at several locations throughout HISD, including from 10 a.m.-noon on Mondays and Thursdays at Browning Elementary School and Booker T. Washington High School.
During the facility closures, HISD said its custodians will continue to monitor buildings for emergencies and that groundskeeping will continue as well.
“These new measures are imperative for the health and safety of our students and staff. Every decision we make has them in mind,” HISD interim superintendent Grenita Lathan said in a statement released by the district. “I urge you all to please be safe in the coming weeks — stay home when you can, wash your hands, and wear a mask if you must go out.”
HISD said its decision followed reports and guidance from local, state and federal officials. Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo raised the county’s COVID-19 threat level system to its highest level last week, signifying “severe and uncontrolled” spread of COVID-19 within the region.
HISD said its employees have through Thursday, July 2 to “complete campus-based tasks and take home any needed items, but administrators must streamline operations and limit the number of people on site through the week.”