Conroe ISD superintendent says recent surge in coronavirus threatens school reopening

Conroe ISD Superintendent Curtis Null said there are many unknowns when it comes to bringing students back to campuses in the fall. (Community Impact staff)
Conroe ISD Superintendent Curtis Null said there are many unknowns when it comes to bringing students back to campuses in the fall. (Community Impact staff)

Conroe ISD Superintendent Curtis Null said there are many unknowns when it comes to bringing students back to campuses in the fall. (Community Impact staff)

Conroe ISD Superintendent Curtis Null said the recent surge in positive coronavirus cases makes him “worried” about school in the fall.

During a YouTube livestream June 29, Null said the district has seen positive tests at its schools, food distribution sites, strength and conditioning high school programs and in the administration building, even with only 10% of staff and students on campus.

James Campbell, Montgomery County Hospital District chief of EMS, and MCHD Medical Director Robert Dickson joined Null and urged viewers to wear masks, practice social distancing and sanitize their hands. Null said complying with these health initiatives is vital in the effort to bring students back to campuses.

“Without us taking this advice and changing this curve that we are currently seeing, we are not going to have an opportunity to have next school year,” Null said.

Null said this recent surge has contributed to the unknowns surrounding schools reopening—CISD had expected to receive more concrete guidance from the Texas Education Agency, but TEA held off on releasing guidelines after Gov. Greg Abbott said it was unclear if in-person instruction could happen at all.


“If we don’t tackle this now, if we don’t get this under control now, we’re not going to have that opportunity,” Null said.

With the few guidelines the district has so far, Null told Community Impact Newspaper the district is planning on offering in-person and online options for students in the fall if allowed, with some in-person activities, such as science labs or athletic programs for online students. However, Null said students will have to be prepared to switch to online learning “at a moment’s notice.”

Online instruction will be much more rigorous than distance education in the spring, according to Null. He said in the spring, materials were condensed, but in the fall, online education will mirror in-person instruction, and students will be graded the same way.

“They will be equal parallel systems, from face-to-face to online,” Null said.

Online education requires at least four hours a day for secondary students and three hours for elementary students. The district will also be taking attendance, and students must be present and working every day, even in online instruction.

Null said he hopes to have further guidance from the state by July 10 and said the district would share information as soon as possible.
By Andy Li
Originally from Boone, North Carolina, Andy Li is a graduate of East Carolina University with degrees in Communication with a concentration in Journalism and Political Science. While in school, he worked as a performing arts reporter, news, arts and copy editor and a columnist at the campus newspaper, The East Carolinian. He also had the privilege to work with NPR’s Next Generation Radio, a project for student journalists exploring radio news. Moving to Houston in May 2019, he now works as the reporter for the Conroe/Montgomery edition of Community Impact Newspaper.


MOST RECENT

The proposed project involves reconstruction and widening of Sgt. Ed Holcombe Boulevard South and Old Conroe Road to a four-lane, divided facility. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Virtual public meeting on Old Conroe Road, Sgt. Ed Holcombe Blvd. S. project to be held April 20

The meeting will consist of a narrated presentation by the project team, project exhibits and an opportunity to comment.

Armored Sports camps feature basketball, flag football and more. (Courtesy Pexels)
Armored Sports camps to launch in venues across Greater Houston

A new Christian sports camp for youth is launching this summer in churches across the Greater Houston area.

Montgomery County's active COVID-19 case count was 1,692 as of April 9. (Community Impact staff)
Montgomery County active COVID-19 case count drops below 1,700 as of April 9

The active COVID-19 case count in Montgomery County is the lowest it has been since October.

"Breaking Strongholds" is a faith-based, eight-episode series that explores topics such as suicide and depression. (Courtesy Terry Weaver)
Series shot in Montgomery County aiming for Hulu, Netflix deal and more Houston-area news

Read the latest business and community news from the Houston area.

Mental health services have seen an increased demand through 2020 and early 2021. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Q&A: Tri-County Behavioral Healthcare director speaks on increased demands from pandemic

Evan Roberson spoke on the demand for mental health services as well as what his organization has seen over the past year.

A groundbreaking was held this week for the new Willis Surgery Center, which is expected to open in spring 2022. (Courtesy HCA Healthcare)
New ambulatory surgery center breaks ground in Willis

The center is expected to open in spring 2022.

The temporary waiver covering initial vehicle registration, vehicle registration renewal, vehicle titling, renewal of permanent disabled parking placards and 30-day temporary permits will end April 14. (Hannah Zedaker/Community Impact Newspaper)
DMV officials say no grace period following waiver of car title, registration; new housing set for Magnolia, Cypress

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

"Breaking Strongholds" is a faith-based, eight-episode series that explores topics such as suicide and depression. (Courtesy Terry Weaver)
Faith-based series filmed in Montgomery County hopes for spot on Netflix, Hulu

The show, "Breaking Strongholds," explores topics such as suicide, depression and broken families.

After serving up chicken in College Station for nearly three decades, Layne’s Chicken Fingers is opening its first location in the Houston area in Katy. (Courtesy Layne's Chicken Fingers)
Layne's Chicken Fingers coming to Katy; Gyro King opens in Sugar Land and more Houston-area news

Read the latest business and community news from the Houston area.

Less than 25% of American office workers have returned to in-person office settings since the start of the pandemic. (Courtesy Pixabay)
DATA: Texas metros lead the nation in return to in-person work since start of pandemic

About 37% of Houston office employees had returned to in-person work as of the end of March, as compared to an average of less than 25% in other major U.S. metros.

A third flyover road at I-45 and Hwy. 242 is now being developed, Montgomery County Precinct 2 announced April 6. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Eastbound, nontolled flyover road from I-45 to eastbound Hwy. 242 enters preconstruction phase

Montgomery County Precinct 2 Commissioner Charlie Riley said planning work on the new flyover road and a drainage project to the south has begun.

Montgomery County was allocated 15,210 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine for the week of April 5. (Lauren Canterberry/Community Impact Newspaper)
DATA: Montgomery County receives over 34,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses for the week of April 5

The county will receive 15,120 first doses and 19,340 second doses of the vaccine for this week's allocation.