GUIDE: Here is information to know about April education-related closures, adjustments in the Bay Area

Numerous school districts, colleges and universities are adjusting operations as they switch to remote instruction amid the coronavirus pandemic. (Courtesy Pexels)
Numerous school districts, colleges and universities are adjusting operations as they switch to remote instruction amid the coronavirus pandemic. (Courtesy Pexels)

Numerous school districts, colleges and universities are adjusting operations as they switch to remote instruction amid the coronavirus pandemic. (Courtesy Pexels)

Clear Creek ISD is adjusting to distance learning as facilities close due to coronavirus concerns. Bay Area colleges also face many of the same challenges as campuses switch to remote instruction and make decisions about large-scale events like commencement.

This post will be updated continually with new information. For education-related closures and adjustments from March and early April, visit this page. For coronavirus updates in the Bay Area, including information about case counts, click here.

Clear Creek ISD


Sibling duo makes face masks, ear relief straps for community members

Two Clear Creek ISD siblings are among the Bay Area residents helping provide essential workers with protective face masks, all while engaging in distance learning, according to a news release from the district.

Clear Springs High School sophomore Michelle and Creekside Intermediate School eighth-grader Nicholas Davis have made more than 40 masks and 100 ear-relief straps on top of their schoolwork. The masks are being given to first responders and hospital workers for free, or they are available to purchase for $5 each, per the release.

Nicholas, who is interested in robotics and 3D printing, researched designs for mask ear-relief straps, which he prints himself. Printing the flexible straps, which are roughly 7 inches long and are meant to relieve tension on the ear, takes about 3 1/2 hours for 10 units. Michelle irons, pins and sews together the masks, each of which take 10 to 15 minutes.


Food program continues serving students

The district has provided more than 40,000 meals to students between breakfast and lunch pickups, according to an April 13 Facebook post.

Through its drive-thru meal program, operated by campus staff, CCISD has served more than 21,500 breakfasts and more than 25,000 lunches in the last four weeks, per the post.

The program began offering free lunch and breakfast pick-up for multiple days at a time as of March 30. Monday’s pickup will include lunch and breakfast through Thursday morning, and Thursday’s pickup will include lunch and breakfast through Saturday breakfast.

Administrators discuss switch to pass-fail grading system during livestream

During an April 8 livestream event, Clear Creek ISD leaders answered questions from parents and provided more details on the grading policy changes. The revisions are student-centered and learning-focused, officials said during the livestream.

Laura Engle, assistant superintendent of secondary education, said the decision to move to a pass-fail system was based on what would be the most equitable, given the inevitable difference in access to resources that comes with distance learning.

“We needed to have a system that would meet everybody’s needs,” she said.

The CCISD board of trustees approved a resolution reflecting these grading policy changes during an April 6 special meeting. The resolution reads in part, “during this unprecedented public health crisis certain temporary modifications to the district’s instructional grading and reporting requirements will alleviate academic pressure on students and facilitate the most equitable transition for all students to distance learning.”

The board’s resolution included language intended to base grade-level advancement, promotion and course credit on curriculum proficiency rather than mastery. This entails restructuring secondary education: part of the resolution called on educators to determine proficiency based on daily grades and only daily grades, with a minimum of one daily grade recorded per student per week.

Bay Area colleges, universities


San Jacinto College joins ‘H-Force’ to address area protective gear shortages

San Jacinto College, Houston Community College, University of Houston at Sugar Land, Fort Bend County Judge’s Office, TX/RX Labs, Alief ISD and Houston ISD have joined efforts to help address personal protective equipment shortages for local medical professionals and first responders in the fight against the coronavirus, according to an April 13 news release.

The effort, known as H-Force, will be “a comprehensive community partnership platform bringing together members’ resources, technologies, and expertise to address the Houston area’s growing needs amidst this global crisis,” per the release. H-Force members are already supporting several Houston-area initiatives, including a project initiated by TX/RX Labs to produce face shields via 3D printing for health care workers at Memorial Hermann Health System, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, and Baylor College of Medicine.

In addition to this collaboration, San Jacinto College is printing an additional 500 face shield brackets for CHI St. Luke’s Health–Patients Medical Center in Pasadena and its affiliate in Sugar Land, per the release.

Community members who are able to help with 3D printing are encouraged to do so, and H-Force is also in need of filament and 3D printing material supplies for those able to donate. The collaborative is establishing drop-off locations throughout Houston to ensure community members have easy access to places receiving donations, while also maintaining the social distancing requirements in place throughout the Houston area, per the release.

University of Houston—Clear Lake takes Art School for Children and Young Adults online

David Moya, UHCL’s director of the Art School for Children and Young Adults, is transitioning art classes to an online format for at least the month of April, according to an April 10 news release.

“Like everyone else, we have had to cancel our programs, and since we don’t know if the quarantine will go past April, we created a virtual presence and have started live streaming classes on Fridays to make sure people’s interest in the arts keeps going,” Moya said in the release.

The program conducted a pilot livestream on its Facebook page earlier in the month, inviting current students to try the new format and work out the logistics. Moya said in the release that the pilot had a “great response.”

April 10’s lesson was about frottage, the process of taking a rubbing from an uneven surface to form a new piece of art. There will be a free live streamed art class on Facebook every Friday for the month of April. Moya said in the release that the program will offer a pilot class via videoconferencing software in May and a full virtual program with tuition in June.

“In creating these lessons, I have tried to keep in mind using materials that people would have on hand and just be creative with them,” Moya said in the release. “Technology is the tool to solve problems, and everyone is having to do the same thing we’re doing. We have to ask ourselves how to leverage our tech tools to create a learning opportunity. For me this is fun, and this is what it’s all for.”

By Colleen Ferguson
A native central New Yorker, Colleen Ferguson worked as an editorial intern with the Cy-Fair and Lake Houston | Humble | Kingwood editions of Community Impact before joining the Bay Area team in 2020. Colleen graduated from Syracuse University in 2019, where she worked for the campus's independent student newspaper The Daily Orange, with a degree in Newspaper and Online Journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and a degree in Spanish language and culture. Colleen previously interned with The Journal News/lohud, where she covered the commute in the greater New York City area.

<

MOST RECENT

Clear Creek ISD officials said recounting election votes will be a first for the district. (Courtesy Unsplash)
Clear Creek ISD to recount votes from District 5 race

Unofficial results show incumbent Jay Cunningham won re-election with 1,406 of the votes. His opponents, Christine Parizo and Keith Esthay, earned 841 and 10 votes, respectively.

Pfizer vaccines could become available to kids 12 and up as soon as next week. (Courtesy Adobe Stock/Graphic by Justin Howell/Community Impact Newspaper)
FDA expands Pfizer vaccine authorization to children ages 12 to 15 years old

This is the first time people under the age of 16 have been granted access to a coronavirus vaccine.

The deadline is May 17 for residents to protest their appraised property values set by the Harris County Appraisal District earlier this year, and officials are encouraging protesters to take online options into account. (Courtesy Pexels)
Harris County residents have until May 17 to protest property values

High demand for residential properties along with a shrinking inventory of homes translated into a roughly 8%-10% increase in residential values on average across the county this year

ExxonMobil moved employees from its Springwoods Village campus to a Hughes Landing to cure a default on a Montgomery County tax abatement. (Courtesy ExxonMobil)
ExxonMobil resolves tax abatement default; Home Depot distribution center taking over superfund site; and more top Houston-area news

Read the most popular business and community news from the past week from the Houston area.

College of the Mainland officials unveiled the new buildings at the end of April. (Courtesy College of the Mainland)
IMPACTS ROUNDUP: College of the Mainland opens new STEAM, administration buildings and more

Here is the latest business and community news from the Bay Area.

The University of St. Thomas is a private Catholic college in Houston. It also has a microcampus in downtown Conroe. (Emma Whalen/Community Impact Newspaper)
University of St. Thomas offering free tuition to first 500 students who apply

The online degrees are in the following fields: cybersecurity, network technology, electronic technology, general business, and alcohol and drug dependency counseling.

(Courtesy city of Houston)
IMPACTS ROUNDUP: Spaceplane developer coming to Clear Lake and more aerospace news

Here is a roundup of space-related news in the Clear Lake area.

houston firefighters rally
Appeals court rules in favor Houston firefighters in collective bargaining case

The 14th Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the fire union in a case that originated when the city and the union failed to reach an agreement on a labor contract in 2017.

The Texas Department of State Health Services projects a significant shortage of nurses by 2032. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Q&A: Why Texas faces a growing nursing shortage and what can be done to address it

In 2018, the state health department estimated about 11% of the demand for nurses was not able to be met, and that number is expected to rise to 16.3% by 2032.

Legacy Community Health is bringing COVID-19 vaccines to historically underserved communities across Beaumont and Houston. (Courtesy Pexels)
Legacy Community Health vaccine rollout targets underserved communities in Houston, Beaumont

The health network is partnering with other entities, including Beaumont Independent School District.