UPDATED: Katy-area districts, schools closing campuses through April, to begin online instruction

Katy ISD is closing the district another week due to the coronavirus. (Jen Para/Community Impact Newspaper)
Katy ISD is closing the district another week after spring break due to the coronavirus. (Jen Para/Community Impact Newspaper)

Katy ISD is closing the district another week after spring break due to the coronavirus. (Jen Para/Community Impact Newspaper)

Posted 5:14 p.m., March 20

Katy ISD announced via Facebook that it has provided instructions for students and their parents regarding online instruction, which begins March 23. The district has temporarily closed its campuses to students until at least April 13.

“The week one goal is for our teachers and students to reconnect and reengage with learning activities, lessons, and resources,” the district’s website states. “As online learning continues, teachers will provide lessons aligned with the current school year scope and sequence. Additional information regarding grading and attendance will be forthcoming.”

Students who do not have a device to access the online courses can request one from KISD, per district resources. Additionally, if a family does not have internet access, they may qualify for an affordable home internet service.

Students will receive assignments, courses and textbooks through online platforms for a variety of subjects, according to KISD.

Pre-K through fifth-grade students will access curriculum on a KISD platform and SeeSaw, per KISD.

“[For elementary school students] some lessons will be self-directed, while others will be supported by your child’s classroom teacher who will be accessible Monday through Friday, during specific time frames that they will communicate directly to their parents next week," per the district's website.

Students in sixth through 12th grades will receive assignments through Canvas, according to a KISD website. The district recommends students spend 30 minutes per course per day.

Additional resources are available for students who speak Spanish or other languages, who are gifted and talented, or who have dyslexia, according to KISD. Parents of students who are in special education programs will be contacted by their teacher or case manager.

Posted 10:41 a.m. March 17

Lamar CISD announced it is extending the closure of all schools and facilities through April 19, according to a 10:10 a.m. press release. All travel and extracurricular activities are also canceled through April 10.

“At this time, the District is reviewing options for remote and continuing instruction for students and an update will be shared with parents and staff by Friday, March 20, 2020,” the release states.

St. John XXIII College Preparatory is making plans for remote instruction procedures to begin March 23 “should they be necessary,” Principal Joseph Noonan wrote in a March 16 letter.

International Leadership of Texas founder and Superintendent Eddie Conger wrote in a March 15 letter that all instruction will be internet-based moving forward. IL Texas’ Katy location at 24406 Franz Road, Katy, is offering free lunch and dinner meals to children ages 18 and younger. These meals are served on weekdays in a grab-and-go style between 11 a.m.-noon and 3-4 p.m.

Aristoi Classical Academy is temporarily closed through April 10 and online learning is expected to begin March 23, per the charter school’s website.

Faith West Academy said March 16 it plans to provide virtual learning for K-12 students through April 3. However, its preschool program plans to resume on March 23.

Calvin Nelms Charter School announced it will suspend normal operations through April 10. Online instruction will begin March 18

Posted 6:04 p.m. March 16

Katy ISD has made another announcement regarding the return of students to campuses in a 5:30 p.m. Facebook post:

Katy ISD will be postponing the opening of its schools until at least Monday, April 13," the post reads. "The CDC has already recommended social distancing protocols, and is now asking to implement school closures for a minimum of four weeks to mitigate the spread of the virus."

According to the district's website, KISD plans to begin online instruction on March 23. Informational resources about this move will be communicated to students and parents beginning March 18.

Gov. Greg Abbott waived mandatory State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, or STAAR, testing requirements. The attendance requirement for spring 2020 high school final exam exemptions has also been waived, per KISD's website.

Posted 5:57 p.m., March 13

All Harmony Public Schools campuses—which include Harmony Science Academy-Katy and Harmony School of Innovation-Katy—will be closed through March 30, according to a Facebook post. The charter school said it anticipates staff will return for a work day on March 30 with students returning to classes March 31.

Posted 1:33 p.m., March 13

Additional Katy-area schools that have announced they are are cancelling classes and activities due to the coronavirus March 16-20 include St. John XXIII College Preparatory and
International Leadership of Texas.

Posted 9:42 a.m., March 13, Updated 1:14 p.m. March 13 for additional clarification

Katy ISD provided additional information in an 8:30 a.m. email on March 13 regarding the temporary district closure due to concern for the coronavirus:

"Essential staff will still be working, as is the case with all school closures," the email states. "The return to campuses was 'postponed' for students [and some staff]... Per policy, the superintendent is authorized to pay staff for up to seven days during a school closure that is due to an emergency."

Employees at KISD will be contacted by school and district leadership regarding whether they are essential staff and other procedures during this temporary closure. KISD said.

Community Impact Newspaper will update this article as more information becomes available.

Posted 6:10 p.m., March 12

Other Katy-area schools that have announced they will extend spring break through March 22 include Aristoi Classical Academy, Faith West Academy and Calvin Nelms Charter Schools. All campus activities are also cancelled.

Posted 5:07 p.m., March 12

Katy ISD will extend its spring break by one week out of concern for the coronavirus, according to a March 12 press release.

KISD’s spring break was originally March 9-13. Students and staff will now return March 23, though the district may choose to extend the closure, per the release.

Additionally, all campus events, field trips, student trips, and University Interscholastic League practices and competitions are postponed during the closure beginning March 13, per the release.

Because the safety of our students, staff, and families is a top priority, we have decided to act out of an abundance of caution to protect everyone’s health and wellbeing,” KISD’s release said. “The temporary closure will allow the District, state and local health officials to better evaluate the extent of COVID-19 spread within our community and ensure those needing to self-quarantine may do so prior to returning to school.”

Additionally, the KISD is ensuring all locations have sufficient soap and sanitizer supplies, and maintenance staff is disinfecting surfaces on a regular basis, per a March 5 release.

After the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo canceled its remaining events, KISD announced it opened its Agricultural Sciences Center to help Houston Rodeo participants’ animals by providing barn shelter overnight, per a March 11 release.

Several other Greater Houston-area school districts have also extended spring breaks or have closed, including Cy-Fair ISD, Lamar CISD, Spring ISD, Klein ISD, Conroe ISD, Clear Creek ISD, Humble ISD, Tomball ISD, Magnolia ISD and Fort Bend ISD as of 4:30 p.m. March 12.

Area college and universities have also announced closures, including the University of Houston, Houston Community College, University of St. Thomas and Houston Baptist University.

Fort Bend County, Harris County and the city of Houston leaders have all signed emergency declarations.

Waller County is operating as normal, according to Waller County Judge Trey Duhon’s March 11 Facebook post.

“I would anticipate that it could just be a matter of time before we have a documented case here in Waller County,” he said.