HOUSTON - The largest school district in Texas has decided to temporarily close several campuses due to confirmed or presumed cases of COVID-19. The confirmed cases come a day after the district began face-to-face instruction Monday.
Houston ISD says a total of 16 campuses were temporarily closed to in-person instruction as a precautionary measure.
The following schools are closed:
- Bellaire HS
- Daily ES
- Foerster ES
- Hines-Caldwell ES
- Houston Academy for International Studies HS
- Lanier MS
- Lawson MS
- Lewis ES
- Pershing MS
- Pilgrim Academy
- Piney Point ES
- Roberts ES
- Valley West ES
- Waltrip HS
- Westbury HS
- Whittier ES
The district says Foerster Elementary School, Houston Academy for International Studies HS, Lewis Elementary School and Roberts Elementary School each had a confirmed COVID-19 case.
The rest of the schools listed above have temporarily closed and transitioned to virtual learning as a precautionary measure due to presumed cases of COVID-19.
The district says parents will be notified when the schools have been cleared to reopen.
Nakeisha Brown, a mom of three HISD students, says she’s not surprised about the quick closures. Brown and her husband have opted to continue their children’s education “virtually” through the year.
“I’m just watching to see how they handle this school year what they’ve learned from it. And how they address the next school year,” said Brown.
“I think it really depends on the level of risk you’re willing to take,” said Dr. Peter Hotez
While COVID-19 is an easy spreader, many feel that school must go on.
“It going to be really hard to keep COVID out of the schools, so the question is, do you operate in a system to which, if there is a COVID-19 case may want to shut down that one classroom,” said Dr. Hotez.
Dr. Hotez with Baylor College of Medicine is expecting another uptick of the virus come November.
HISD officials say the campuses will be deep cleaned and disinfected during the closure.
Dr. Hotez is suggesting students and staff get vaccinated when a vaccine is available.
In a statement, HISD said “As outlined in the HISD Communicable Disease Plan, the campus will be deep cleaned and disinfected during the closure.”
HISD also directs parents to their online COVID-19 dashboard for more information on COVID-19 cases in the district.
In a letter to parents on Monday, Bellaire High School said the affected person, who was not identified, is now self-isolating at home. Houston ISD’s Health and Medical Services department has contacted all individuals determined to be in close contact with the person with COVID-19 while on campus.
They will remain off campus until the end of their 14-day quarantine to ensure they do not have the virus.
On Monday, HISD students returned to their schools for in-person instruction for the first time in seven months. Sixty percent of the district's students are still learning virtually.