To assist with ongoing efforts to support public health and safety, the Houston Independent School District is offering COVID-19 BinaxNOW Rapid Tests at all campuses and its central office.
The district has been provided with testing resources to test campus-based staff, district administrators, and a percentage of students (with permission from parents) through a statewide COVID-19 Rapid Testing program implemented in conjunction with the Texas Education Agency and the Texas Division of Emergency Management. The tests will be optional, but all staff who work on a campus are encouraged to participate in the program.
HISD is launching a “mask-up” campaign as students and staff return to the classroom this week.
A districtwide social media campaign, #HISDMaskUpDay, will be launched on Friday, Jan. 8 and held in conjunction with a mass distribution of masks from Ever PPE Inc. and AOK Tooling. Recently, the two companies teamed up to donate 500,000 masking to HISD staff and students, encouraging them to stay safe and #MaskUp.
HISD middle and high school students are invited to attend a
virtual Wellness Fair presented Next Level Urgent Care, Jones Futures Academy
and Junior Achievement of Southeast Texas.
The wellness fair will take place from 9:30 to 11 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 5. During the fair, students will have access to workforce readiness opportunities, as well as an opportunity to meet and interact with health care professionals without having to leave their campus.
Chantal Duval-Jackson’s Kickstart Karate students lined up
in neat rows and ran through warm-up drills on Monday with their usual
precision and enthusiastic shouts of “Kiai!”
The only noticeable differences on the first day of face-to-face instruction at Navarro Middle School were the addition of masks and carefully staggered checkerboard mat to ensure social distancing measures were observed.
Duval-Jackson, who has taught karate at the school for nearly
10 years, had the extra challenge this year of creating a safe space for her
students – not an easy task considering karate usually is a full-contact sport.
She has about 150 students in sixth through eighth grades, and about 30 percent
of those students have opted for in-person instruction. The majority of her
students are participating virtually.
HISD campuses may have been closed for months, but the team at Highland Heights Elementary School has been working around the clock to make sure their school community is safe, clothed, fed, and supported.
The Highland Heights Resource Center officially opened its doors on Monday, welcoming new and old Honeybees to the first-of-its-kind center, which offers families much-needed items such as food, clothes, shoes, and toiletries.
Heights Wraparound Resource Specialist Brendella Chavis has worked diligently to
make sure students were supported.
Nurse Janda Jelks’ first year as a school nurse has been
unusual and challenging, but she has leveraged her creativity and enthusiasm to
excel in her new role.
Jelks, who worked in a hospital before coming to Mark White
Elementary School, said her goal is to foster relationships between parents,
teachers, and students and ensure the return to face-to-face instruction is as
smooth as possible.
“Our priority is making sure kids are getting as much
instruction time as they can, either virtually or in person,” Jelks said. “I
would hate for something that I’m doing, even though it’s state-mandated, to
cut into that. So instead of the students coming to me, I come to them.”
As part of National Bullying Prevention Month in October,
HISD is recognizing this week as Bullying Prevention Week to raise awareness
about the damaging effects of bullying.
Every day, thousands
of students experience some form of bullying, especially
online through social media and texts. Cyberbullying has increased
significantly since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. So now is a great time
for HISD schools, staff, and students to raise
awareness about bullying and the role we all play in making our schools
accepting and welcoming environments for all children.
The Houston Independent School District is preparing for students and staff to return to classrooms and office workspaces over the coming weeks.
The district’s top priority during
this phase of returning to in-person work is the health and safety of students
and staff. HISD is partnering with Axiom Medical to support employees. Axiom
Medical has nurses on staff available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a
year, as well as a chief medical officer. The Axiom Medical health screening
app will help employees determine whether it is safe for them to come into
Effective Monday, September 28, all
employees must use Axiom Medical’s Checkin2work (CI2W) app to log in and
complete a daily
self-attestation before arriving at work. The daily
self-attestation consists of answering COVID-19-related questions. Employees
without internet access should call HISD’s Health and Medical Services at (713)
556-7280 to complete the daily self-attestation.
Following a statewide call on Tuesday between school district superintendents and Commissioner of Education Mike Morath, I wanted to provide an update on plans for the 2020-2021 school year – which remain to be finalized.
As COVID-19 cases continue to rise,
the situation remains fluid as we try to determine next steps on what the
school year will look like. During his presentation, the commissioner
emphasized that the Texas Education Agency (TEA) is working with Gov. Greg
Abbott’s medical advisors to establish public health guidance for school
districts. While preliminary information has been provided by TEA, final
guidance will not be available until mid-July.
Editor’s Note: The HISD Board of Education is hosting a public hearing at 5 p.m. on Thursday, May 28 to gather feedback on beginning the process of becoming a District of Innovation, as designated by the TEA. More information can be found here.
The Houston Independent School District Board of Education at
its virtual meeting on Thursday voted 7-2 in favor of a resolution to initiate
the process of designating HISD as a District of Innovation.
By adopting District of Innovation status, HISD could exercise greater local
control over decisions impacting positive educational outcomes for students.
The resolution approved by the Board of Education outlines specific exemptions
from state law that the district would seek, including: