HISD has been a leader in the nation by delaying the first day of school and starting virtually to prevent the spread of COVID-19. But on Thursday, close to 18,000 parents found out that HISD did not have enough devices for their kids and were told —by email— that their children would be required to attend school face-to-face at a digital learning center (DLC).
It sets a terrible precedent to inform parents at the 11th hour that their children will be sent to school face-to-face in the middle of the pandemic still plaguing our city. The HISD FAQ states that students can learn virtually when more devices become available. But right now, all of the devices that HISD has in stock have already been distributed. Those students still without devices are largely from poor Brown and Black communities in schools with high faculty and principal turnover. These students will be bused to digital learning centers that have been hastily set up around the school district. These DLCs do not have sufficient safety protocols in place to protect students and the paraprofessionals who will be monitoring them.
Will you email the HISD Board and the interim superintendent and tell them they messed this up?
Here are their emails: Sue.Deigaard@houstonisd.org, firstname.lastname@example.org, Judith.Cruz@houstonisd.org, Patricia.Allen2@houstonisd.org, Daniela.Hernandez@houstonisd.org, Elizabeth.Santos@houstonisd.org, Holly.email@example.com, Kathy.BluefordDaniels@houstonisd.org, Anne.Sung@houstonisd.org, firstname.lastname@example.org
Parents must have the choice to keep students home, without grade or truancy penalty, until a virtual option is available for them. It is unconscionable that HISD demands that poor families without devices, already hardest hit by this pandemic, endure yet another sacrifice. Additionally, HISD should delay the opening of the digital learning centers to students until staff can troubleshoot problems and manage logistics so that they get things right. HISD’s least resourced staff and families must not be asked to put their lives on the line because the district didn't get devices in time.
Harris County is still in pandemic alert level Red, with health officials calling for county residents to stay home whenever possible. Email the board to let them know HISD needs to start virtually as they said they would.