HOUSTON - In-person learning resumes in HISD on Monday and the city of Houston is making sure that teachers, parents, and students are mentally prepared through a new COVID-coping program. The sights and sounds will definitely be different during the pandemic.
"No matter what age, a child is, this is so abnormal. This is so unusual, and if we take Kindergarten or Pre-K, or if we take high schoolers, that's the best time of their life to be in high school. Even middle school with all of their friends. This is an important time in their life and socialization is so important," states Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee.
While many believe it's important to get students back to the classroom, local leaders want to make sure families stay healthy, especially in our hardest-hit areas.
That's why Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee backs the new "Beat COVID Program." It will focus on health, education, social services, and offer a free helpline from 1-11 p.m. every day.
"But we also have this program that is going to encounter parents, teachers, and students with no labeling. Just the idea of how we can help you better educate the children, make them more comfortable, make this not so abnormal, but to give it sort of the edge or the spin that it's unique, and it's something that we will get through together. I'm excited about that program, and very pleased that we have two prongs, so we're helping the whole family and the whole lifestyle that they have, as we work to get through COVID-19," said Lee.
Counselors say they will focus on high-COVID positivity zip codes and schools, making sure they have the resources they may desperately need. They're also making sure kids will have fun with it.
"We're doing a contest for the schools, we'll have them come up with TikTok things. I want them to submit videos about how to be safe during COVID. So washing your hands, how to social distance. So that's going to be our focus, but I won't be able to come up with stuff and we'll just have the contest and put it on the website and put it on the school website, so that'll get them involved. We're also telling them to stay six feet apart, but you know when you're a child, six feet, are you serious? It's a long way," says Dr. Janice Beal, who is the program administrator.
While this program will focus on certain schools, the valuable information, training, and toolkits are available to everyone and any school district online. Everyone from Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, City Council members, to pastors and counselors, are on board to help make this a project that will enhance lives.
Every Tuesday, you can expect powerful webinars then on Thursdays, support groups will meet.
The number to call is (713) 999-9442. You can click here for more.