HISD Interim Superintendent on the district’s decision to go virtual

Also on this week's Houston Newsmakers: COVID-19 trials in Houston & Texas Politics

HOUSTON – The Houston Independent School District announced last week that the school year will begin virtually for all students and teachers amid COVID-19 concerns.

HISD Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan talked on Houston Newsmakers with Khambrel Marshall about the district’s decision, why it was made and the plans to resume in-person teaching.

Lathan acknowledged that in-person teaching is the most effective way to educate our children but points to several factors that call for virtual teaching. For one, Houston-area COVID-19 numbers continue to rise. While only 14% of HISD teachers say they are ready to return to the classroom for in-person teaching.

HISD is also working to assist parents with students that need technology for virtual learning. The district plans to provide computers and technology help. Parents can call the helpline at 713-556-4636.

COVID clinical trial volunteers needed

The Texas Center for Drug Development is one of the organizations involved in Operation Warp Speed, the government’s plan to develop a vaccine against COVID-19. Between 300 to 600 volunteers are needed to take part in phase 2 and phase 3 clinical trials. Dr. Frederic Santiago says any risk to volunteers is low. “The vaccine that you’re getting in this trial is at a lower dose so there’s not as many adverse effects were seen. There were no serious adverse effects so far so we’re fairly optimistic that most people will probably have a fairly good experience with this.”

Interested volunteers must be 18 years and older and should call 281-886-3753.

Runoffs set the stage for November elections

With the runoffs over, the stage is set for the November elections including the race for U.S. Senate, the seat held by Senator John Cornyn. M.J. Hegar beat State Senator Royce West for the right to face Senator Cornyn. Baker Institute and Rice University Political Scientist Dr. Mark Jones says while Cornyn is the early favorite, Hegar should not be overlooked. “MJ Hegar has a real possibility as a decorated war veteran, as a mother and as an Anglo woman she has the ability to reach into the Republican party and pull out some of those Anglo women that the Republican candidates need to win about 60 to 65% of in order to win an election state wide.”

Houston Newsmakers airs Sundays at 10:30am:

Grenita Lathan, Ph.D., HISD Interim Superintendent

Dr. Frederic Santiago, M.D., MBA, Texas Center for Drug Development

Mark Jones, Ph.D., Political Science Fellow, Baker Institute, Rice University

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