HISD to offer virtual learning option for students too young to get COVID vaccine who have a compromised immune system
Houston Independent School District, the largest school district in Texas, announced Thursday that it will now offer a virtual learning option for students who are too young to be vaccinated or immunocompromised.
Family members help with virtual learning during pandemic
Cypress, TX – Extended family members have helped with the challenges of virtual learning during the pandemic, experts said. Virtual learning isn’t always easy for children and in the Patel home, it was a concern for the kids to return to the classroom. “I wake them up, have breakfast, get in the shower, get ready for school,” said Hansa Patel. “It helps with young people and learning and having another adult at home to support the family. She believes most relatives, if they’re able to do so safely, would welcome the opportunity to connect with family.
From public to private school: How families are making it affordable
HOUSTON – When public schools kept students online with abrupt, unscheduled closures, many private schools were able to keep classes more stable. Bellaire mother of two Charity Zemzous heard how private school Lutheran High North handled the pandemic and school in general. “Probably every private school would say that this has been a nice boon for them,” said Lutheran High North principal Dana Gerard. Gerard has seen enrollment increase and decline in his 37 years at LHN, but he said the pandemic caused families who had never before considered private school to take a look. Private school for low-income familiesCristo Rey Jesuit College Preparatory School, located by Hobby Airport, is a private, Catholic school (accepting all faiths) that exclusively educates students from low-income families.
In-person vs. virtual: Where do the numbers stand among Houston-area’s school districts?
HOUSTON – As students in many school districts across the greater Houston area get ready to start for spring break, KPRC 2 took a deep dive into the enrollment numbers. We wanted to outline the percentage of students who attend face-to-face instruction versus those who are in virtual remote learning. Here is a non-comprehensive list of some of the local school districts:Spring Branch ISD79 % in-person learning21% virtual learningHISD44% in-person56% virtualFort Bend ISD47.57% in-person52.43% virtualKaty ISD68% in-person32% virtualCy-Fair & Pearland ISD70 % in-person30% virtualAlief ISD40% in-person60% virtualHumble ISD79 % in-person21% virtual
HISD cancels school through Tuesday due to winter storm impacts
HOUSTON – The impact of the Texas winter storm forced several school districts to remain closed at this time. The Houston Independent School District is included on the list. Millions of Texans are still recovering from last week’s winter storm. On Sunday, HISD held a massive food and water distribution site with the Houston Food Bank at NRG Stadium and served around 5,000 families. They will also be assisting our families in distributing food boxes in partnership with the Houston Food Bank.
Fort Bend ISD temporarily closes, opens schools amid COVID-19 pandemic
MISSOURI CITY, Texas – This week, President Biden plans to address getting kids back in the classroom as early as Wednesday. This comes as Fort Bend ISD once again is closing some schools and opening others. The district also sent an email to parents on Friday saying if their student is falling behind in their studies and grades, they will require them to come and learn face-to-face. Below is a list of FBISD schools and their plans:School pivoting to online on Tuesday, Feb. 9Pecan Grove Elementary (2/8-2/19, Students return on 2/22)School pivoting to online on Monday, Feb. 8Sienna Crossing Elementary (2/8-2/15, Students return on 2/16)Townewest Elementary (2/8-2/15, Students return on 2/16)Elkins High School (2/8-2/19, Students return on 2/22)Online schools returning to face-to-face instruction on Monday, Feb. 8Austin High SchoolBarbara Jordan ElementaryBriargate ElementaryDulles High SchoolHodges Bend Middle SchoolMadden ElementaryOyster Creek ElementaryJames Patterson ElementaryOnline schools returning to face-to-face instruction on Wednesday, Feb. 10Crockett Middle SchoolOnline schools returning to face-to-face instruction on Tuesday, Feb. 16Bowie Middle SchoolOakland ElementaryChrista McAuliffe Middle SchoolJames Neill ElementaryRosa Parks ElementaryJuan Seguin ElementaryOnline schools returning to face-to-face instruction on Wednesday, Feb. 17Quail Valley ElementaryOnline schools returning to face-to-face instruction on Monday, Feb. 22AdBush High SchoolFort Bend ISD will continue to closely monitor all schools across the district. For the latest news about your child’s school, visit www.fortbendisd.com.
Free mental health counseling services offered as teachers face mounting pandemic stress
HOUSTON – The University of St. Thomas is expanding its “Healing Our Heroes” initiative by offering free mental health counseling services to teachers. Long term impact of pandemic stress believed to be significantMental health experts believe the long term impact of pandemic stress and fatigue on teachers could be significant. Free sessions available for K-12 teachersThe sessions begin Jan. 11 and are offered Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays during UST’s spring academic semester, which ends in early May 2021. Mental health counseling benefits for teachersDr. Sasse said teachers are so busy helping others, their own needs go unmet. UST’s mental health counseling will give them the support they need.
DATA: Houston-area school districts see troubling failure rates for first grading period
No matter the school district, failure rates for the first grading period, among those learning virtually, are much higher than failure rates during the same period last year, according to an analysis of data conducted by KPRC 2. After reporting 42% of students enrolled in Houston Independent School District failed at least one course during the first six weeks of the school year, KPRC 2 sent requests to 10 Houston-area school districts for failure rates among virtual students vs in-person students. As more requests are fulfilled, KPRC 2 will continue to update the data provided:Houston Independent School DistrictWhile the Houston Independent School District is Texas’ largest school district, it’s far from alone in documenting problems associated with virtual learning. Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School DistrictForty-four percent of high school students enrolled in virtual learning failed at least one course during the first grading period, data released by Cy-Fair ISD confirmed. Thirty-eight percent of middle school students learning virtually failed at least one course, according to the data.
42% of HISD students failing one or more classes amid COVID-19 pandemic
Students in the Houston Independent School District -- the state’s largest school system -- are struggling academically and struggling far more than normal. It’s survival mode.”In a statement to KPRC 2, HISD confirmed that 42% of their students failed one or more classes in the first grading period of the fall, which was six weeks long. That grading period was nine weeks long and all in-person instruction. “Additionally, to support students who are facing academic challenges, interventions are in place during the school day. Also, high school students can attend virtual online classes for credit recovery.”Sen. Paul Bettencourt, a known critic of the school board, believes any solution needs to be hyper-focused on the students.
Houston Federation of Teachers pushing to see HISD move to virtual learning following Thanksgiving break
HOUSTON – The Houston Federation of Teachers wants to see HISD move to virtual learning following Thanksgiving break. Dewey proposes that students return to virtual instruction beginning after the Thanksgiving holiday through the return in January. HFT is formally proposing that we return to virtual instruction beginning afterthe Thanksgiving break through the return in January. HISD Media StatementDecisions about whether HISD returns to 100 percent virtual instruction would involve collaborative guidance from the district, City of Houston Health Department and Harris County Public Health authorities. Houston Health DepartmentThe Houston Health Department works closely with school districts to identify mitigation strategies that will allow them to evaluate their individual circumstances, examine available resources and then make the best decision for their institution.
Friendswood board of trustees intervenes to bring struggling online students back to classroom
FRIENDSWOOD, Texas – Another Houston-area school district is attempting to rescue students who are having trouble with online learning. Monday night the Friendswood Independent School District board of trustees voted unanimously not to end virtual learning -- but to modify it to bring struggling students back to the classroom. Administrators and board members say the impact COVID-19 has had on education could last for quite some time. “There’s studies out there after Katrina that it took six years for those students to regain what they had lost,” said Hopkins. And it’s one of the untalked about issues with this pandemic.”While some of these modifications won’t take effect until next semester, the district already has started asking students who are struggling online to return to class.
Friendswood ISD may eliminate most virtual lessons
At a recent school board meeting, Friendswood ISD referenced the grade issues. At the agenda from Nov. 9, Friendswood ISD highlighted failure rates, showing that in the first nine weeks of the school year, 29% of virtual Friendswood ISD high school students were failing one or more classes, in contrast, 8.5% of in-person high school learners are failing one or more classes. The agenda shows the proposed changes for virtual learning options. It would be available for students who have tested positive or must be quarantined or if students meet certain criteria. As far as cases go, the district shows there are 10 active cases out of 6,000 students and 664 employees.
HISD teacher says student used district’s virtual learning system to send threats
Houston – Virtual learning for one HISD teacher has been an emotional roller coaster after she says she received a series of death threats from a student. She shared screenshots with KPRC Channle 2 that show the frightening and inappropriate messages she says she received from the student through the district’s virtual learning system. “let me in (expletive) or i will kill you.”“gon put a bullet through your head.”There are even threats to kill her family. Jump says the district has told her there’s not much they can do because the student is communicating from their home. “But I know the law and I want the book thrown at this person.”KPRC Channel 2 reached out to HISD.
Study zones with free wifi help bridge digital divide for Harris County families
HOUSTON – Remote Learning in the era of the COVID-19 pandemic has put the issue of digital inequality in the spotlight. For students learning remotely, being able to connect to the internet without having issues is so important. Harris County Precinct 2 Commissioner Adrian Garcia recognized the need and responded by creating study zones with free WiFi access to help bridge the gap that exists for so many families. North Shore Rotary Pavilion and Clear Lake Park, Landolt PavilionStudents and families interested in using either of the two locations must first register with Harris County Precinct 2. A mobile library, part of the Harris County Public Library System is on-site with free books, Tuesday from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. at North Shore and Thursday, 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Clear Lake
14 Houston-area churches welcome about 800 HISD elementary students to virtual learning centers
Thats how students enrolled in the landmark, Sanctuaries of Learning program began their first day of school in the Third Ward Tuesday. As part of the program by the United Methodist Church, 14 different Houston-area churches have been converted into virtual learning centers so about 800 Houston Independent School District students will have a place to learn virtually while their parents go back to work. Created specifically to help working parents by providing laptop computers, a powerful WiFi signal and even meals, the program completely free for the students in attendance. Thats when she found out about Sanctuaries of Learning through her sons elementary school. HISD elementary school students are eligible for this program and to register, call your school office and ask for the Turn-Around Specialist.
Katy ISD, several other districts plan to start in-person learning Tuesday
HOUSTON Several major school districts plan to welcome some students back to campus Tuesday amid the coronavirus pandemic. With about half of Katy Independent School Districts students returning to campuses, parents will be armed with a new and necessary tool. Because its been hard on online work, said Carlee Staton, a Katy student. That includes pregnant mom Sachet Harrold, who has two kids online and health concerns about the baby on the way. However, because they werent able to get devices to all the students, HISD will open 36 campuses as digital learning centers for elementary and middle school students who need them.
Fort Bend ISD Board of Trustees vote to delay in person learning
FORT BEND COUNTY, Texas On Wednesday night the Fort Bend ISD Board of Trustees voted to ask the TEA for a four-week extension for online learning. According to the district, this will allow for more time to phase in face-to-face learning. Beginning Sept. 28, elementary students would be phased in by grade levels for face-to-face instruction. A secondary phase-in the following week would then include middle and high school students in phases. Superintendent Charles Dupre said the approach would keep safety in mind during the transition from online learning, especially for younger students.
Back to School: Anxiety kids have about virtual learning
Back to school time is very different this year and whether your child is going in person or online, they may experience some stress. Parents can normally relate to first day jitters but kids today have new anxiety with online learning. “There are some kids that just don’t do well with virtual communication,” said Staci Passe, psychologist at Be Someone Therapy. Depending on your school plan for virtual learning, your child might be online for several hours each day and being on-camera can trigger anxiety in some kids. To which she said, trust teachers to help get children up to speed no matter how many issues you have with online learning!
Houston working moms launch online resource to help parents facing school year amid pandemic
Backed by first-hand experience, two Houston mothers came together to found 39Hats, a pandemic childcare and education company that offers a solution for working parents. Through this free online resource, parents can find virtual education support, tutoring, and connect with other parents to form a learning pod. Click here to find virtual education support near you. Tutoring39Hats currently lists six of the top tutoring agencies providing in-home and online learning support in the Houston area. Learning PodsLooking for other parents with students in your childs grade or school to tackle virtual learning with?
Are your kids doing school virtually? We want to see what your home classroom looks like
Whether your children have already begun their school year or you’re still preparing, due to delays, there are many who are choosing to keep their kids home to learn as the coronavirus pandemic rages on. Parents are doing their best to adapt, and we applaud every parent for the decision they’re making -- regardless of what that is. But for those who are keeping kids home for virtual learning, we want to see exactly how you’re adapting. What does the “classroom” you’ve created look like? We’d love to see what kinds of ideas parents have come up with, and we have a feeling other parents might appreciate some good ideas, too.
‘There was no such a thing as remote learning’ for at least 463 million children, UNICEF official says
At least a third of children couldn’t access remote learning when the COVID-19 pandemic closed schools, creating “a global education emergency,” the U.N. children’s agency said. At the height of lockdowns meant to curb the pandemic, nearly 1.5 billion children were affected by school closures, UNICEF said. “For at least 463 million children whose schools closed due to COVID-19, there was no such a thing as remote learning,” UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore said. The highest number of children affection by region were in South Asia, at least 147 million, according to the report. The youngest children are also most likely to miss out on remote learning during critical years, the report said, largely due to challenges and limitations to online learning for young children and lack of assets at home.
Fort Bend ISD opens learning centers for elementary school students struggling with online learning
HOUSTON – Fort Bend Independent School District has opened up 13 new learning centers across the district to help elementary school students with unique needs. The learning centers are available to the children of district staff, first responders, essential workers and active U.S. military. “Staff is there and there enforcing the masks and social distancing in a very positive way,” said 5th-grade teacher Michael Blasdell. “They are just there to monitor and help, my kindergarten daughter is not reading yet so she needs a little more help logging on to things.”FBISD said about 1,600 students are currently enrolled at the learning centers. The district plans to open more centers next week for middle school and high school students.
Here is where you can donate old computers and receive refurbished devices
Some of you want to help and others need help. When the pandemic started, they were already well equipped to collect old computers, refurbish them and distribute them to students in Harris County. Here’s how you can helpYou can schedule an appointment to drop off your old computers, laptops and accessories like monitors, keyboards, mice, cables and speakers. They need computers that are not more than five years old. Pastor Hannah Terry says they’ll take whatever old computers and laptops you have, refurbish devices they can and recycle those that can’t be restored.
Katy ISD students kickoff school year virtually
KATY, Texas – Katy ISD is set to begin the school year with a virtual start on Wednesday morning. More than 85,000 k-12th grade will begin the school year with online learning. Katy ISD Superintendent Dr. Ken Gregorski said that the district has been working for weeks to make sure that students have the technology needed to begin the school year. So we feel that our system is up and ready and functional to handle the capacity that it will need for students to get online,” the superintendent said. All the way from when you get on the bus where every child getting on school transportation is required to wear a mask.
Ask 2: My kids do not have a device for virtual learning. How do I acquire one?
As part of our Ask 2 series, the newsroom will answer your questions about all things Houston. The question: My kids do not have a device for virtual learning. Houston Charity Comp-U-Dopt stepped in during the coronavirus pandemic to provide devices to qualifying students in need. There is a limit of one device per household, and the computers are yours to keep. Contact your child’s school district if you are in need of a device for the virtual learning period.
What you need to know about shopping for school supplies this year
Supplies you need for virtual learningSome schools are distributing virtual school supply lists and separate lists for when students go back to the classroom. Sales of traditional school supplies are down 12%. Will school supplies still be available when you need them? “We are not using community supplies anymore.”Don’t forget Texas’ Tax-Free weekendWith everything going on, you may have forgotten about Texas’ tax-free weekend. That is when school supplies and clothes and most items under $100 sold in stores and online are tax-free.
New trend providing working parents alternative virtual learning setting for kids
With many local school districts opting for virtual learning amid COVID-19, a new trend is picking up speed in response to a need to help working parents find a safe place for their children. Learning academies like Kids R Kids of Lake Conroe are seeking to provide a socially-distanced classroom setting for students in the Houston area. The owner of Kids R Kids of Lake Conroe wanted to be a resource for students of working parents in Conroe and Montgomery ISDs. The three to four hours of remote learning are spread out across the day. The teachers will act as liaisons between the parents and the public school teachers to ensure that every child is on the right track.
One Good Thing: Boy starts his own business to buy computer for online learning
A 12-year-old Nicaraguan boy started his own business to save money for a computer to attend online classes. Mario Urroz says he's been using his mother's cell phone to do homework ever since his school closed due to the coronavirus. With money being tight, Mario decided to start selling cacti. Mario buys them from a local farm, puts them in colorful painted pots and then sells them on social media. Mario is hoping to have enough money to buy a computer by December.