The following letter from Superintendent House was distributed on the night of August 5 to HISD parents, staff, and community members:
Dear HISD Community,
The health and safety of our students and staff continues to be our guiding compass in all of our decisions. As a result, during tonight’s agenda review meeting, I announced that I will propose a mask mandate for students, staff, and visitors at all schools, buses, and facilities to be voted on next week by the Board of Education. The mask mandate will become effective upon Board approval during next Thursday’s board meeting, August 12. In light of the announcement by Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo and Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner to raise the COVID-19 threat level to “red,” additional safety measures are needed to protect our students, staff, and families.
The mask mandate applies to everyone regardless of whether or not they are vaccinated. In partnership with health officials, three HISD schools are offering vaccinations this Saturday. If your child is 12 or older, I encourage parents to stop by and get a shot. No appointments are necessary.
Dogan Elementary School, 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Deady Middle School, 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Kashmere High School, 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
The 2021-2022 school year begins on August 23, and we will continue to monitor the situation and work with health officials for frequent updates, which we will share with you. The safety of all HISD staff and students continues to be our top priority.
The Houston Independent School District Board of Education approved a resolution on Thursday to extend paid leave to employees who are required to quarantine due to a COVID-19 diagnosis or exposure to a confirmed positive individual.
Employees will be able to apply for up to 80 total hours (or 10 days) of emergency paid sick leave if required to quarantine due to a COVID-19 diagnosis or exposure to the virus. The application can be found on the HISD Human Resources page under “Important COVID-19 Info.” In addition, principals will have the discretion to afford teachers and other campus-based employees the ability to work or teach virtually, if the employee needs to quarantine and if working virtually is a benefit to the campus and fulfills campus needs.
The approved resolution is an extension of certain leave benefits provided by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which expired December 31, 2020. If Congress modifies or extends the federal act, the resolution also gives the superintendent the authority to determine how/if employees may use the 80 hours of leave originally provided by the FFCRA.
January is School Board Recognition Month, and the Houston Independent School District is proud to honor its Board of Education trustees for their dedication and willingness to serve as advocates for public schools.
The year 2020 brought historic, overwhelming challenges. However, HISD’s nine trustees navigated the unprecedented year with unwavering determination, charting a course to ensure that academic progress could continue for all students.
Our school board members are volunteers who shoulder critical responsibilities and often make difficult choices for our district, all without pay.
The Houston Independent School District Board of Education accepted a $250,000 grant from School-Based Healthcare Solutions Network to address students’ and parents’ mental health issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The grant, approved by an 8-0 vote with one abstention, will be used at 10 participating schools to assist families whether their students are enrolled in virtual or face-to-face instruction. Only 25 recipients across the nation are receiving the grant. The HISD schools are: Highland Heights and Wesley elementary schools; Attucks, Cullen, Henry, and Thomas middle schools; and Bellaire, Madison, North Forest, and Waltrip high schools.
Joining the board for her first regular meeting was newly appointed Trustee Myrna Guidry (District IX). The Houston attorney and law professor will fulfill the unexpired term of Wanda Adams who resigned to serve as a Harris County Justice of the Peace. The board term expires December 31, 2021.
During a special meeting Tuesday, the Houston Independent School District Board of Education unanimously voted to appoint attorney Myrna Guidry as the new trustee for District IX to fulfill the unexpired term of Wanda Adams.
Guidry was sworn in on Thursday at noon before the regular board meeting.
“I am grateful and happy to have this opportunity to serve the district by working to build up our students’ potential and do whatever I can to contribute to their ultimate success,” Guidry said.
$2.3 million in grants for mental health, afterschool
supports also approved
The Houston Independent School District Board of Education
voted 8-0 with one abstention to approve a $41 million budget amendment to fund
additional supports for special education, pay for personal protective
equipment (PPE), enhanced cleaning services and supplies, and computer devices
The extra funding for special education amounts to $17 million and has been under consideration since August of 2020. The funding will pay primarily for assigning speech-language pathologists to campuses where students in need have been identified and allow for expansion of the number of existing Intensive Intervention Teams. The funding will also pay for the addition of mental health specialists to address students’ emotional and behavioral challenges. The district will also use the additional funding to increase the number of occupational and physical therapists and assistive technology specialists.
The board also adopted by a vote of 9-0 the district’s 2020
tax rate of $1.1331 per $100 of taxable property value to allow the Harris
County Tax Assessor-Collector to begin the preparation of 2020 tax bills.
The HISD Board of Education will host two community meetings ahead of a vote to set new district goals for student outcomes. All meetings are virtual and open to the public.
are scheduled to vote on the goals during a special meeting on Thursday, Oct.
mission as the Board of Education is to educate the whole child so that every
student in HISD graduates with the tools to reach their full potential,” HISD
Board President Sue Deigaard said. “As we discuss and consider new goals for
student outcomes in our district, we want to better understand the views of our
communities, which is why public participation in these community meetings is
important to us.”
Houston Independent School District Board of Education on Thursday issued a
proclamation designating Sept. 15 through Oct. 15 as Hispanic Heritage
Month in the district.
Heritage Month kicks off with the anniversary of the 1821 Independence Day of
Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. The month also
encompasses the independence days for Mexico (Sept. 16) and Chile (Sept.
the month, a variety of virtual events showcasing performances, art, and many
other displays of the rich Hispanic culture can be observed across the city of
The Houston Independent School District Board of
Education on Thursday unanimously approved 9-0 a resolution concerning virtual instruction that
provides flexibility for the district, if needed.
Currently, HISD is scheduled to begin in-person
instruction on October 19, 2020, pending COVID-19 conditions. The board voted
to provide flexibility to extend the virtual learning period for an additional
two weeks if that becomes necessary based on recommendations from health
authorities. As announced on July 15, HISD’s plan to provide face-to-face
instruction beginning on October 19 has not changed.
Trustees also approved a plan
to carry out online learning on Election Day, November 3, 2020 to accommodate
voters and maintain safe conditions for students and staff amid COVID-19
conditions. Per state law, the district is required
to make campuses available as voting sites during elections.