Most HISD employees to be paid while schools are closed, district says

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The Houston Independent School District board of trustees held a meeting on Thursday detailing what will happen to its campuses amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Six trustees participated via video conference, and one person called in by phone. Two trustees, along with interim superintendent Grenita Lathan, were at the meeting in-person. A few other staff members were also in the board room. The meeting was limited to only 10 people, following health guidelines. There was no public audience.

In the emergency meeting, Dr. Lathan said employees, including long-term substitutes, will be paid during the district closure. Short-term substitutes will not be paid.

District officials also said they were working on a program called "Home-based Ongoing Mobile Education" or "HOME" for teachers and students. The system will reportedly be available next week to acclimate and establish.

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HISD launching online program for students and teachers while district remains closed amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Lesson plans are supposed to go live on March 31. Parents will get direct communication on how to move forward with the online system from their schools.

Also, all class of 2020 events will be cancelled through April. The district's board of trustees will meet again on April 6 and reevaluate their decision.

HISD will remain closed through April 10 due to the pandemic, but that date could be extended.

HISD officials also talked about postponing graduation ceremonies until June or July.

Additionally, Lathan said administrators are exploring whether to give out grades or a more general pass/fail for the remainder of the school year.
The extended school closures would be a burden for low-income and working parents, who would more likely struggle to keep their children home for long periods of time.

As of Thursday, nearly 100 school districts, college, and universities combined in and surrounding the Houston area have closed their doors as they take precautions to keep their students, staff, and faculty safe and healthy.


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