Houston ISD parents urge superintendent to offer virtual learning amid surge in COVID-19 cases

Late Thursday night, the Houston Independent School District, the largest district in Texas announced the board of trustees will take a vote next Thursday on a mask mandate.

"I think one of the most important things that we can do in terms of safety that this team of 10 did tonight, in terms of supporting the mask mandate," said HISD Superintendent Millard House. 

RELATED: Houston ISD Superintendent to bring forward mask mandate to school board next week for a vote

If approved the requirement will apply to all students, staff, and visitors, all school busses and facilities. 

A move made in defiance of a current executive order by Governor Greg Abbott, which prohibits government entities from mandating masks.

The superintendent saying the safety of his students and staff is his top priority. 

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HISD parents telling FOX 26, it’s a good starting point, but the schools will still be at full capacity and they’re concerned with young children and their abilities to keep their mask on. 

"The first reaction was it’s a step in the right direction," said Sachin Kalatrakkal, HISD parent.

The Kalatrakkal’s are still pushing the district to include a virtual option for those parents who are concerned. 

As school is set to start for HISD on August 23, they tell us they are still on the fence whether they will send their children to school or not.

"I think HISD has to come up with options for all populations," said Reshma Kalatrakkal. 

"There are cases of other independent school districts across the state that have managed to offer virtual learning," said Sachin Kalatrakkal.

The Texas Education Agency released its guidelines for the 2021-2022 school year. The TEA will not require schools to conduct contact tracing, but will notify parents if the district learns of a student who has been in close contact to someone with the virus. And for students who have COVID-19, they must be excluded from attending school in person.
If the mask mandate is approved, per the executive order the district could face up to a $1,000 dollar fine.

To learn more about the HISD virtual learning petition, click here