The last day local children were inside a classroom was March 6 and it will have been eight weeks, at least, before they return. March 31, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order implementing Essential Services and Activities Protocols for the entire state of Texas.

- Most frequently asked questions about Humble ISD -

The protocols direct all Texans to minimize non-essential gatherings and in-person contact with people who are not in the same household. Additionally, Abbott said, schools will remain temporarily closed to in-person classroom attendance through May 1, 2020.

The Tribune recently spoke with Humble ISD School Superintendent Dr. Elizabeth Fagen and Jamie Mount, chief communications officer for the district.  School may be delayed until August. True or false?

Gov. Abbot on March 31 ordered Texas schools to stay closed until May 4. At this point, there’s not enough information to know if schools will remain closed beyond May 4. School is set to begin for the new year Aug. 12, 2020.

Is school officially back in session - albeit via digital learning? What day did that start?

Monday, March 16.

Is there a set number of hours per day that students should be working from home?

The state has moved from a system based on minutes and seat time to a system based on competencies. Teachers know the competencies that students need to master the course. The amount of time that students spend will vary by student. 

How are parents receiving instructions on “teaching” at home? Or are the teachers handling it all?

Teachers continue to provide lessons and assignments. Just like during regular school operations, parents provide support by monitoring their children’s progress. We understand families face varying challenges. Some parents are working outside the home. Some parents are able to work from home but cannot oversee school work all day due to their job responsibilities. Some families are sharing computers. Some families need more powerful home WiFi now that everyone is using it at the same time.

What media platforms is the District using? 

Zoom is one of several resources Humble ISD teachers are using. Other platforms include Class DoJo, Edgenuity, Google Hangouts Meeting, Google Classroom, Schoology, SchoolWires, SeeSaw and Wixie. 

What about students without internet or internet devices?

We are developing a plan to provide Chromebooks to students who do not have a device at home. Several internet providers are providing free internet. Comcast, for example, is offering two months of free internet to low income families and many businesses are supporting this. We are surveying students to find out what they have at home and encourage them to contact us with their needs.

What about spring sports, UIL competition, graduation?

We announced March 24 that after-school activities are cancelled. An exception is prom which will be postponed until an appropriate time can be determined. Our announcement aligns with action take by the UIL that stated May 4 will be the earliest that games and contests may resume. 

Will construction and maintenance work from the 2018 bond issue continue?

Yes, the work continues and there are no delays on any major projects.

Will school board meetings continue to be virtual?

The school board will make that decision.

Any final thoughts?

Our parents are so supportive of their kids who are now attending school from home, making sure they’re paying attention and encouraging them to participate. As our teachers put out information and assignments, parents play a major supporting role. We also have examples of our school district employees going above and beyond as well. One I’d like to mention is a school counselor who picks up meals at the school and delivers them, leaves them on the porches of families who can’t get to school. This is one example of understanding our students and their family’s needs and using our resources to meet those needs.

Keep up to date with all Humble ISD activities at humbleisd.net.

Tom Broad
Author: Tom BroadEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Columnist
Besides being a proud graduate of The University of Nebraska-Lincoln and, therefore, a Cornhusker, I am retired from Memorial Hermann. I am a correspondent and columnist for Lake Houston's hometown paper, The Tribune, as well as a director of the Lake Houston Redevelopment Corporation, a member of the board of the Humble Area Assistance Ministries, and Volunteer Extraordinaire for the Lake Houston Area Chamber.

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