“While I am disappointed that we will not be able to close out the school year in ways that we usually do, we must follow the directives issued by the governor so that we can safely come back together sometime soon,” Henry said in a statement. “Although our classrooms are empty, we are committed to supporting student learning through the dedication of our campus staff and teachers as they connect with their students and provide additional instructional support.”
The Learning at Home program will continue through the end of the school year, which is slated for May 28. District employees will continue taking calls and classroom teachers will be available for curriculum support Mon.-Fri. from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. An announcement about how grades will be given for the remainder of the year will be made in the coming days.
District students can also continue to take advantage of the curbside meal program which has served more than 400,000 meals since launching in mid-March, Henry said.
Henry added he still plans to hold graduation ceremonies in May or July, but the district is waiting on further guidance from the Texas Education Agency before proceeding with those plans. Additionally, the University Interscholastic League has suspended all athletic, music and extracurricular academic practices and competitions for the remainder of the school year.
Earlier this week, Henry said in a board of trustees meeting April 13 that he was skeptical schools would reopen to finish out the semester. He also said district officials were preparing for both in-person and remote instruction scenarios for summer school and even into the 2020-21 school year.
Previously, the district was closed the week following spring break from March 16-20. Classes resumed Monday, March 23, through the Learning at Home program, and Henry had announced in-person classes would resume after the Easter holiday weekend on April 13.
That timeline was extended again when Henry announced March 31 that campuses would open again on May 4. District officials also announced April 6 that proms would likely be canceled and graduation ceremonies for the class of 2020 could be held in July instead of May or even virtually.
The TEA released a statement supporting Abbott’s order Friday afternoon. Officials said they would work closely with with districts to make sure students have what they need during this time, including meals and academic support.
“With Governor Greg Abbott’s issuance of a new executive order today closing schools statewide for the remainder of the 2019-20 academic year, Texas continues to prioritize the health and safety of our state’s millions of public schools and private school students, teachers, staff and administrators,” the statement reads. “While a difficult decision to make, it is the right one for our families and communities—and the only one that makes sense for Texas at this time.”