Montgomery ISD approves phased reopening; nearly 2,000 students in need of laptops

The Montgomery ISD board of trustees met Aug. 4. Attendees were spaced apart and wore masks. (Eva Vigh/Community Impact Newspaper)
The Montgomery ISD board of trustees met Aug. 4. Attendees were spaced apart and wore masks. (Eva Vigh/Community Impact Newspaper)

The Montgomery ISD board of trustees met Aug. 4. Attendees were spaced apart and wore masks. (Eva Vigh/Community Impact Newspaper)

Montgomery ISD will take a phased approach to reopening schools this fall, the board of trustees announced at the Aug. 4 board of trustees meeting. This is a reversal from its last proposal on July 22, where district officials opted for remote learning until Sept. 8.

“There is a desire for us to return to schools as quickly as possible,” MISD Superintendent Heath Morrison said, while also acknowledging the health concerns parents, faculty and students may have.

The plan is to allow pre-K and kindergarten students, students receiving special education services, students identified with dyslexia who are close to completing the program, select career and technical education classes and organizations to return Aug. 17. The hours on campus will be staggered.

Students in sixth to ninth grade will return Aug. 31. Remote learning will continue for all students who choose not to come back to campus.

Students without internet access will also be invited to return to campus Aug. 17 because multiple families have requested access to computers and the district does not currently have enough devices or hot spots to meet their needs, officials said.


Survey results from 6,820 responses out of about 9,000 show 373 students do not have internet and 1,833 are in need of a laptop—three times what the district distributed in spring.

“That was much higher than anticipated,” said Amy Bubsy, MISD’s interim director of information technology. “We didn’t even get all of our responses back, so it’s probably more [like] four times the need.”

District officials said additional laptops have been ordered—the board approved joining a collective purchasing agreement for a variety of technology devices—but the orders may not arrive for four to 10 weeks. Further, hot spots have been requested.

The current solution is to offer flexible instructional hours, request that families share devices and distribute the inventory as it arrives, officials said.

“We will eventually get to a place where we can service those needs; we’re just not quite there yet,” Busby said.

On Aug. 13-14, the district will finalize details of transportation and individual student needs for students enrolled in special education, MISD officials said.

The district also established the COVID Rapid Response team, which will aid teachers and staff in responding to situations as they arise in schools and the community. The team will assist if and when an MISD employee is diagnosed or exposed to COVID-19 and ensure proper guidelines are followed.

For instance, teachers and staff who were potentially exposed to the virus will also need to quarantine for 14 days as well as following other procedures outlined by the district before returning to work.

A full video of the meeting can be found here.
By Eva Vigh
Eva Vigh joined Community Impact Newspaper in 2018 as a reporter for Spring and Klein. Prior to this position, she covered upstream oil and gas news for a drilling contractors' association.


MOST RECENT

Willis ISD Superintendent Tim Harkrider said he will post a video on Facebook the week of Sept. 29 that will provide information about the bond election. (Screenshot courtesy Tim Harkrider)
Here’s what voters should know for Willis ISD’s bond election

See why the district scrapped its original bond election, what the projects include and official wording on the ballot.

Less than 1,600 cases are currently active in the county, a drop of more than 5% since Sept. 21. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Active COVID-19 cases in Montgomery County drop 5.5% on Sept. 22-28; 3 new deaths reported

The county's cumulative case count passed 10,900 on Sept. 28, more than 14% of which remain active.

Austin, Brazoria, Fort Bend, Waller and Wharton county judges joined a Greater Houston Partnership panel discussion Sept. 25. (Screenshot via Greater Houston Partnership)
Greater Houston judges discuss COVID-19 management, economic recovery

Leaders from Austin, Brazoria, Fort Bend, Waller and Wharton counties joined a Greater Houston Partnership panel in late September to discuss COVID-19.

Lone Star College has been awarded a $750,000 grant through the Department of Education. (Danica Smithwick/Community Impact Newspaper)
Lone Star College awarded $750,000 federal grant

The grant is anticipated to be sustained for five years.

ballot box, 2020 voter guide
November 2020 election: Who's on the ballot and how to vote in Montgomery County

Races at the national, state, county and local levels will be contested in the Nov. 3 general election.

Montgomery Woodwrights is a bespoke cabinetry and fine furniture company. (Courtesy Montgomery Woodwrights)
Montgomery Woodwrights, bespoke cabinetry and furniture store, opens doors on Keenan Cutoff Road

The shop designs cabinet, tables, benches and other speciality wood items.

Amazon 4-star's in-store offerings include books, games, electronics and home products. (Courtesy Amazon)
Amazon 4-star store opens at The Woodlands Mall and more business, community news from September

Read business and community news from September from Community Impact Newspaper's coverage of the Houston area.

Gov. Greg Abbott at a press conference
Gov. Greg Abbott to allocate $171M from CARES Act to help renters at risk of eviction

Gov. Greg Abbott will allocate more than $171 million in renters assistance from the federal coronavirus relief package to eligible Texans.

Menu items include fried, grilled and boiled seafood platters as well as Cajun staples ranging from gumbo and shrimp etouffee to boudin balls and po'boys. (Courtesy The Catch)
Cajun eatery The Catch coming to Willowbrook and more Houston news

Read the latest Houston-area business and community news.

The North Houston Highway Improvement Project proposes re-routing I-45 through the East End and Fifth Ward and expanding it through the Northside. (Nathan Colbert/Community Impact Newspaper)
TxDOT releases environmental report, a pivotal step in I-45 rebuild

The report is one of the final steps before the project rerouting much of I-45 through downtown can begin.

The Conroe Art League, which provides a space for local artists to showcase their work, is one arts organization in Conroe that could potentially benefit from the grant program. (Andy Li/Community Impact Newspaper)
Conroe OKs program to provide grants for arts organizations

For the past two years, arts groups have received grants through hotel occupancy tax fund. However, representatives said state laws surrounding use of the hotel tax are too restrictive.