AUSTIN, Texas – As public schools across the state postpone classes due to concerns over the coronavirus, Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath told officials Sunday that schools could remain shuttered much longer in communities impacted by the outbreak, Texas Representative Jared Patterson (R-Frisco) said.
In a conference call, Morath told Patterson and others that some schools could remain closed for many weeks or months, Patterson wrote in a Facebook post detailing the call.
Morath also warned officials many large gatherings like sporting events and prom could be postponed or canceled.
As of Sunday, there have been at least 56 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Texas, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services. Coronavirus cases, both confirmed and presumptive, in the Houston area, have climbed to 30.
Morath said testing may become a “moot point” if schools remain closed for an extended period of time. The Texas Education Agency will provide more guidance on the issue in the coming days, Morath said.
Schools in 177 counties throughout the state have canceled classes temporarily, Morath said.
Over 30 Houston-area school districts have canceled classes in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Houston ISD classes are canceled through March 30.
In an effort to help students and families during the closures, several Houston-area school districts are offering free curbside meals.