Students have the choice of returning to in-person learning the following week, starting Monday, Oct. 19.
HISD said the following in a press release:
"Our goal continues to be to keep students and employees--and their desks and workspaces--six feet apart whenever possible. To aid that effort, we're limiting student movement on campuses and requiring all meetings be held virtually."
HISD says employees can return full-time to district workspaces safely due to the 14-day average Harris County COVID-19 positivity rate. Data shows that it's been under 7% for more than two weeks, therefore, HISD has moved their COVID-19 gauge from red to orange.
The move to orange requires the average to be between 4% and 7%. The gauge had been at Level 1: Red, which indicated a severe risk and required virtual learning and remote learning for most employees, since it's inception in July.
School officials say they've also reviewed guidance from the CDC, Texas Education Agency, HISD Communicable Disease Plan, and state and local health departments, including Harris County Public Health, Baylor College of Medicine, and Houston Methodist.
HISD warns that while both in-person and virtual learning are allowed under orange, rolling school closures may be needed, masks are required, and physical distancing will be implemented when possible. Students and staff are advised to minimize contact and to avoid medium and large gatherings. Protocols are outlined in their Communicable Disease Plan. Enhanced cleaning procedures have also been implemented.
Other Level 2 "Orange" protocols include:
- Student activities: Considered on case-by-case basis with no assemblies or field trips.
- Athletics: Competitions and practices permitted based on conditions. Varsity games held at district stadiums with limited games. Sub-varsity games held on campus with no fans.
- Student meals: Meals served in classrooms and cafeterias for in-person learning with curbside pickup available for students learning virtually.
- Bus service: Limited to special education, homeless, elementary, and specialty school students, as well as those who live along high-risk routes. Additional priority will be given to middle school students if capacity allows. Students must sit one per seat.
For more information, check out HISD's COVID-19 dashboard.
As of Monday, Oct. 12, there are 10 students and 55 staff members who have tested positive for COVID-19. The HISD Reopening Plan outlines the timeline for the 2020-2021 school year.
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