What is so hard about being thoughtful and supportive towards teachers, other staff and students in the middle of a pandemic?
Can you speak at the HISD Board meeting on Thursday to demand that HISD take COVID seriously?
- HISD must request a waiver from the Texas Education Agency to return to 100% virtual instruction due to the high number of new cases and the high positivity rate.
- HISD must cancel the December policy that bars teachers from teaching virtually when quarantined unless they were exposed on campus. This makes no sense from either a public health or instructional perspective.
We believe in-person learning is best, but during this deadly pandemic, we should take every measure to protect students, teachers, and communities.
Furthermore, requesting a waiver sends a message to HISD employees and students that HISD Administration and Board value their lives in the face of surging COVID numbers in the greater Houston area. The Houston area’s 14 day positivity rate of 15.5% is on an upward trajectory with 600 positive cases per 100,000 people in Harris County, which markedly exceeds the CDC’s threshold for closing schools.
As the state’s largest school district that predominantly serves communities which have been hit hardest by the pandemic, Houston ISD must take the bold lead in countering Gov. Abbott’s attempts to normalize an ongoing catastrophe. We urge the Board to request this waiver for fully online learning.
What is wrong with our governor? Governor Abbott is requiring school districts to provide in-person instruction to anyone who wants it or lose funding. Is his posturing at the expense of student and school staff lives? In the middle of a pandemic, our state government is making it next to impossible to teach 100% virtually even as COVID numbers spike. Governor Abbott even excluded teachers and support staff from the list of individuals eligible for early vaccination. Here is his contact information.
Will you also speak out against the December policy that tells teachers that they cannot teach virtually when quarantined unless they were exposed on campus? As reported in the Houston Chronicle, Dr. Lathan initially stated "that employees must use their regular paid leave — typically 10 days per school year — if they cannot report to work for 'reasons not specifically related to workplace exposure to the coronavirus.” In response to public outcry, Dr. Lathan changed course and the Board will soon vote to provide the 10 day quarantine FFCRA leave benefit to employees regardless of whether they are exposed on campus or elsewhere.
Nonetheless, teachers and principals are still in the dark about what is or is not the new HISD virtual instruction policy. As of this morning, no teacher can teach virtually when quarantined unless they were exposed on campus, not that that can be determined realistically. Instead, they will be required to use the one time FFCRA 10 day leave benefit or use 10 days of sick leave if they have already been quarantined once.
This makes no sense from either a public health or instructional perspective. Please let HISD Administration and the Board know that it is better for kids if a teacher who is quarantined can still teach virtually. [UPDATE: Due
Speakers must sign up by 9:30 am on Thursday. Sign up for agenda item G1 or "Covid-19 update." Registered speakers to agenda items speak at the beginning of the meeting. You will receive a call at around 5pm to your phone from a 646 area code number. You will be muted and when it is your turn to speak, they will say your name and tell you to begin. If you are watching the board meeting, mute the volume since there is a 30 second delay. If you need assistance, email email@example.com.
If you would prefer, email the board members at Sue.Deigaard@houstonisd.org, Judith.Cruz@houstonisd.org, Patricia.Allen2@houstonisd.org, Daniela.Hernandez@houstonisd.org, Elizabeth.Santos@houstonisd.org, Holly.firstname.lastname@example.org, Kathy.BluefordDaniels@houstonisd.org, Anne.Sung@houstonisd.org, Myrna.email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org