A day before Hurricane Harvey hit Houston in 2017, Tiffany
Irving and her son Grant eagerly delivered school supplies to his kindergarten
classroom at Mitchell Elementary, just south of Hobby Airport.
Little did they know then that Grant’s supplies — along with
the rest of his building and three other elementary schools across the district
— would be destroyed in the coming days as the storm dumped unprecedented
amounts of rain on the city.
Unfortunately, the damage wasn’t limited to the school. The Irving’s
home just around the corner from the school also flooded.
Kolter Elementary School Principal Julianne Dickinson began
to feel the weight of Monday morning before the sun went down the day before.
For Dickinson, Monday was different for a few reasons — the
start of in-person instruction, the return of students to classrooms after eight
months, and the required use of masks due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
But the most special reason was that it was her students’
first day in their newly constructed school.
you follow Eliot Elementary School Plant Operator Irma Martinez along on her
new cleaning route, you’ll see her clean and disinfect the school from
wall-to-wall — figuratively and literally.
part of her new duties, Martinez is required to clean and sanitize restrooms
and high touch surfaces every hour. It includes walls, door handles, light
switches, faucets, cafeteria tables, and anything else young students may touch
that could harbor viruses.
“I try to help the students as fast as I can,” Martinez said. “That’s why I don’t work by myself. I work with my team.”
Facing hundreds of cars in a line that stretched down the street
and around the block, it would have been easy for Nutrition Services staff
overwhelmed at their first neighborhood supersite in southeast
But for a department known for its dedication to keeping families fed
and well-nourished, it was all in a day’s work on Wednesday — the launch of
weekly community food distributions.
Hosted through a partnership with the Houston Food Bank, the supersites
provide a place where Houstonians can go each week to pick up 32-pound family
food packages and a week’s worth of student meals.
From the moment a severe storm is predicted to make landfall
along the Texas Gulf Coast, Facilities,
Maintenance, and Operations staff are among the first to spring into action.
Crews place sandbags around flood-prone campuses. Generators are checked and
filled with fuel. Pump systems are inspected to make sure they are operational.
“As long as we don’t have a power outage
in the area, the pumps should carry all the water that could cause more damage
down the road,” said North Maintenance Plumbing Team Lead Kenneth Wesley,
who oversees the dispatch of plumbers to campuses when faced with a severe weather
Collaborative learning spaces and abundant natural light are
the hallmarks of a trio of Houston Independent School District high schools now
being recognized for their innovative designs.
The new buildings for Madison High School and Sam Houston Math, Science, and Technology Center, as well as the addition and renovations to Northside High School, are three of just 48 projects across the state being recognized by the Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA) and Texas Association of School Boards (TASB).
“These awards are a testament to our focus on our students,”
HISD Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan said. “We are proud to provide them
with beautiful, functional spaces that foster learning and excitement. At the
end of the day, it’s always about the kids.”
HISD plant operator at Field Elementary, Maria Santana has always worked hard
to keep her school clean and safe. When students return to campus on Oct. 19,
she’ll work even harder to do so.
As part of enhanced cleaning procedures, HISD custodians are required to target high touch surfaces every hour. This includes continuous sanitization of sink faucets, handrails, and desks using a host of cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting methods on an hourly, daily, weekly, and even emergency basis.
how to clean,” Santana said. “But now it’s going to be about the details.
Hitting those high touch areas like doorknobs.”
Transportation Services is
finalizing bus routes for eligible riders who have indicated to the
district they plan to return for in-person learning and preparing to notify
parents of assigned routes next week.
bus service will be limited when in-person instruction resumes on Oct. 19 due
to physical distancing and its impact on bus capacity. Under the
Communicable Disease Plan, buses will run at half capacity with just 26
accommodate the reduced capacity, bus service will be limited to special
education, homeless, elementary, and specialty school students. Service also
may be provided for some students in middle school as well as those who live
along high-risk routes if resources are available.