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Gov. Abbott extends coronavirus school closures till May 4. See how your local districts are responding

(Photo by Klaus Pressberger/SEPA.Media /Getty Images)
(Photo by Klaus Pressberger/SEPA.Media /Getty Images) (Klaus Pressberger/SEPA.Media /Getty Images)

HOUSTON – Gov. Greg Abbott announced Tuesday that he is extending all Texas school closures through May 4 in order to continue to help curb the spread of coronavirus.

The governor announced the executive order from Austin Tuesday, saying it would bring the state in line with the federal guidance urging social distancing that President Donald Trump announced Monday would now run through the end of the month. The order also says Texans “shall … minimize social gatherings and minimize in-person contact with people who are not in the same household.”

What are local school districts doing?

HISD

Houston Independent School District announced Tuesday that all campuses will remain closed until further notice.

Following the governor’s response, HISD will continue remote learning.

“We are dealing with an unprecedented crisis, and the safety of our students and staff is our top priority,” Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan said. “We’re working diligently to ensure our students have the support they need to continue their learning at home until normal district operations resume. I urge parents and students to take advantage of the resources provided and reach out to us for support when they need it.”

In the meantime, the district launched HISD @ H.O.M.E. (Home-based Online Mobile Education), a distance learning plan to ensure students’ academic and non-academic needs are met as the district remains.

The district is also exploring options to resume food distribution sites for its families in partnership with the Houston Food Bank.

CFISD

Cypress Fairbanks Independent School District also canceled in-person classes through May 4 following the governor’s extension.

The district says May 4 also coincides with the first day that UIL games and contests may continue and will evaluate the date with input from health and government officials.

The district will continue the online learning at home program and take-home packets to allow students to resume their education outside of campus.

Superintendent Mark Henry also released a statement on graduation ceremonies:

"I have received many questions from students and parents about graduation ceremonies. For now, we still have graduations scheduled, but we will be discussing alternative options and dates with high school leadership to recognize our seniors while maintaining safety for all.

It troubles me to prolong time apart from our students and staff, but during this unprecedented time, I feel it is critical to protect our community and halt the spread of COVID-19."

Katy ISD

Katy Independent School District has extended its closure to May 4 and will evaluate future initiatives and events such as the Bond 2020, UIL competitions, district events, and high school graduations.

The district will continue its online teaching and learning model.

Alief ISD

Alief Independent School District announced that it will remain closed and will continue online learning activities through May 1.

The earliest the district might return to school will be May 4 but asks parents to visit www.aliefisd.net to access its online learning platform and for any additional updates.

The district will continue to provide curbside meal service, as well as instructional packet pick up throughout the closure.

Aldine ISD

Aldine Independent School announced it will remain closed “until further notice” to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.

District officials said all planned events, field trips and activities are canceled. District officials said some events will be rescheduled or held virtually. Alief ISD students will receive online learning and activities as they remain at home.

The district released the following statement:

“Aldine ISD will also continue to provide breakfast and lunch pick-up. The district will provide the most recent updates related to the district’s plans, preparations and up-to-date health information impacting our community on visit www.aldineisd.org/healthalerts.”

This story will be updated as more school districts respond. Please check back for updates.
The Texas Tribune contributed to this article.

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