Teachers return to Houston ISD schools to prep for in-person classes

Students wearing face masks attend computer lessons in a classroom at Atatürk Vocational and Technical Anatolian High School in Ankara on October 8, 2020. (Photo by Adem ALTAN / AFP) (Photo by ADEM ALTAN/AFP via Getty Images)

For the first time in months, teachers are now back in Houston Independent School District (HISD) classrooms. This, as students are expected to return to in-person learning on October 19.

On Monday, school parking lots were filled with employee vehicles again. HISD, the largest school district in Texas, has been teaching classes virtually online for several months.


In a Zoom interview posted publicly to Facebook, HISD Interim Superintendent Dr. Grenita Lathan answered concerns from the Houston Federation of Teachers.

“We do have PPE,” said Dr. Lathan. “We have the COVID kind of police, where we’re checking to see if people are following procedures.”

HISD recently released a new communicable disease plan for 2020, highlighting a face mask requirement, the use of sanitizing stations, and social distancing expectations. In addition, Dr. Lathan says there will be a “wellness committee” used to keep schools operating safely in-person.

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“We are doing our best to try and stick with 6 feet as much as possible,” said Dr. Lathan. “There are some circumstances where it might go down between 4 or 6 feet. It’s estimated 60 percent of students will continue the school year virtually, but that all could change next Monday. You might be 100 percent virtual right now, but we have some concerns of students showing up on Monday, October 19th, or throughout that week, that’s what we have to look at,” said Dr. Lathan.

In previous years, perfect attendance was always encouraged, but not this year. If students or staff members feel sick, they’re urged to stay home.