Parents of HISD students concerned about "teacherless days"

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- After last week's winter storm closed down schools, most districts opted to go virtual on Wednesday. But in Houston ISD, there was a catch.

Parents told ABC13 their kids were only required to log in for a short time without any teachers. They add this created a lot of confusion.

When we reached with some questions to the district, here's what it had to say in response.

Students were told they would only have to log in for about 40 minutes [Wednesday] to complete assignments, yet no teachers. Why was that decision made?

"Teachers were provided a teacher preparation day and had the option to return to campuses or work remotely [Wednesday Feb. 24] before returning in person on Thursday, Feb. 25. After our students and their families experienced a very difficult week, we wanted to make sure all facilities were repaired and ready and that students were able to have a smooth transition back to class using virtual asynchronous learning," HISD said.

Parents are juggling work and doing the best they could, even before the winter storm. For those worried about their children falling behind - what is your message to them?

"During any periods when learning cannot take place due to unforeseen circumstances, students are instructed to spend time reading or use the time to reinforce learning via digital resources found on the HUB or HISD @ H.O.M.E., if possible. Lessons on the HUB are aligned with instruction students receive from their teachers.

Academic enrichment opportunities will be offered during the upcoming Spring Break, the week of March 15, and Summer School will be held through the middle of July 2021. Districtwide, credit recovery is underway for 11th and 12th graders. It launched at the end of the first semester. Students are able to recover credits online afterschool and on weekends. We know that in-person learning yields the best academic results and we look forward to a time when all our students return to school for face-to-face instruction,"
HISD said.

What is the plan to get the district completely back up and going after the storm? We know at least 12 campuses sustained damage

"The recent subfreezing weather conditions resulted in more than 500 requests for service from HISD facilities. Many of the service calls were for frozen pipes, leaks, and heating system repairs. Water service has returned to all HISD campuses except: Briscoe Elementary School, Brookline Elementary School, Challenge Early College High School, Durham Elementary School, Law Elementary School, Long Middle School, Neff Early Childhood Center, Pilgrim Academy, Sutton Elementary School, Thomas Middle School and Young Elementary School.

Power to Houston Independent School District campuses is restored to every location.

Network connectivity repairs are ongoing at one HISD campus and three support facilities. This work will not interfere with students transitioning to asynchronous virtual learning [Wednesday, Feb. 24] through Friday, Feb. 26. All repairs are expected to be completed before students who are engaged in face-to-face learning return to class on Monday, March 1. Custodians are back to work and are making our schools ready for the return of students and staff,"
HISD wrote.

How do y'all plan on making up all the missed days due to the pandemic, storm, etc? What are you being told by the Texas Education Agency?

To this question, HISD said you may find the following information on the TEA's website:

February 18, 2021 -- In addition to the flexibilities provided this week, for the week of Monday, Feb. 22 through Friday, Feb. 26, local education agencies (LEAs) have the following three options:

  • Continue with in-person instruction.
  • If your LEA continues to experience infrastructure issues because of outages and its related impacts, it may provide 100% remote instruction. Your LEA must submit an "Other" waiver through the Waivers application via the TEA Login (TEAL) to claim full day minutes for any remote day.
  • If your LEA continues to experience infrastructure issues because of outages and its related impacts that prevents it from providing remote instruction, the LEA may close completely. Please submit these Missed School Day waiver requests through the Waivers Application via TEAL, with supporting documentation, following the closure event. Additional FAQs and prior communications from TEA

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