UPDATE: Fort Bend ISD amends meal pickup policy for its 23 distribution locations

Fort Bend ISD announced beginning March 25 it will provide breakfasts and lunches at 12 additional campuses during school closures caused by the coronavirus. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Fort Bend ISD announced beginning March 25 it will provide breakfasts and lunches at 12 additional campuses during school closures caused by the coronavirus. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

Fort Bend ISD announced beginning March 25 it will provide breakfasts and lunches at 12 additional campuses during school closures caused by the coronavirus. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

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From left: Trustee Addie Heyliger, Superintendent Charles Dupre and board President Jason Burdine attended the March 13 emergency board meeting in person. All other trustees participated via telephone conference. (Claire Shoop/Community Impact Newspaper)

Updated March 31, 5:06 p.m.

In a March 30 news release, Fort Bend ISD announced that students no longer need to be present in order for parents to pick up grab-and-go meals. The district said this change was made in compliance with new requirements from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Texas Department of Agriculture.

Parents still need to bring one of the following documents in order to get meals for their students.

  • Student ID

  • Individual student report card

  • Attendance records from parent portal of Skyward

  • Children's birth certificates

On March 29, the district also announced meals will now be distributed at Hunters Glen Elementary School instead of Blue Ridge Elementary School. FBISD has 23 meal distribution sites that provide breakfast and lunch Monday through Friday.

Updated March 23, 8:05 p.m.

Note: Campuses marked with a blue pin began providing lunches on March 16, and those with a red pin will begin March 25.

Fort Bend ISD announced the district will distribute breakfasts and lunches at 12 additional campus locations throughout the district starting March 25.

The 12 additional locations include the following.

  • Ridgegate Elementary School

  • Briargate Elementary School

  • Blue Ridge Elementary School

  • Heritage Rose Elementary School

  • Burton Elementary School

  • Goodman Elementary School

  • Rosa Parks Elementary School

  • Ridgemont Elementary School

  • Lantern Lane Elementary School

  • Armstrong Elementary School

  • Mission Glen Elementary School

  • Mission Bend Elementary

Chief Financial Officer Bryan Guinn said at the March 23 board of trustees meeting that once these 12 locations come online, meals will be available at all of the district’s Title I campuses.

FBISD has been providing an average of 5,200 meals per day, according to Guinn.

Chief of Schools Joe Rodriguez said district staff expects to see increases in the number of meals distributed because of the added locations.

“There are some concerns with transportation, but we feel as an administration that by increasing the number of schools, especially in these communities, that we will increase the percentage of participation as well,” Rodriguez said.

Fort Bend ISD began providing meals at 11 campuses on March 16. Students can pick up breakfast and lunch between 7:30-9 a.m. or lunch only from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.

Anyone 18 and under who lives in the district is eligible to receive meals even if they are not a FBISD student. Students must be present to pick up meals.

FBISD has suspended regular district operations until April 10 in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Updated March 16, 3:54 p.m.

Fort Bend ISD is providing breakfast and lunch to anyone in the community under the age of 18 and to students of all ages with disabilities at 11 campuses throughout the district beginning March 16.

Meals will be served from 7:30-9 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Monday-Friday for as long as the district is closed for classes due to concerns over the coronavirus, FBISD Superintendent Charles Dupre said.

“[FBISD is] the heart of our community,” Dupre said. “People look to the schools under all circumstances—just as I did with the hurricane, they came to our doorsteps for rescue. These children in our community, during this time of the year, they're usually in school. They're getting at least two meals a day through school. For that to be gone, it throws their family into a very precarious position, and those children are at risk of not being well-fed. So I do think we've got to stand up and fulfill that expectation and fulfill our obligations to the children or our community, whether they're coming to school every day or not.”

The meals will be delivered in the bus line and to maintain recommended social distancing guidelines, individuals are asked to stay in their cars. Children must be present to receive a meal.

Dupre said the district’s nutrition staff is in the process of ordering more food coming off of spring break and that the meals available will be of higher quality in a few days.

“For today, we are providing nutritional meals that are legal,” Dupre said. “We're going to be having what people would consider to be a full meal by the time we get to the end of this week or early next week.”

The 11 campuses providing breakfast and lunch are:

  • Travis High School, 11111 Harlem Road, Richmond

  • Hodges Bend Middle School, 16510 Bissonnet St, Houston

  • Kempner High School, 14777 Voss Road, Sugar Land

  • Sartartia Middle School, 8125 Homeward Way, Sugar Land

  • First Colony Middle School, 3225 Austin Parkway, Sugar Land

  • Dulles High School, 550 Dulles Ave, Sugar Land

  • Missouri City Middle School, 202 Martin Lane, Missouri City

  • Elkins High School, 7007 Knights Court, Missouri City

  • Ridge Point High School, 500 Waters Lake Blvd., Missouri City

  • McAuliffe Middle School, 16650 S. Post Oak Road, Houston

  • Hightower High School, 3333 Hurricane Lane, Missouri City

Starting March 17, families will be able to pick up both breakfast and lunch for the day between 7:30-9 a.m. Lunch will be available from 11:30 a.m-1 p.m.

Posted March 13, 1:54 p.m.

Fort Bend ISD took action at a March 13 emergency board of trustees meeting authorizing the district to pay all idled staff for the duration of school closures caused by coronavirus concerns.

“I think this is the right thing for us to do for our community, for our schools,” trustee Addie Heyliger said prior to the board approving the motion unanimously.

On March 12, FBISD announced that they would extend Spring Break by at least two weeks. FBISD Superintendent Charles Dupre said the two-week extension was enacted in part because the incubation period for coronavirus is two weeks and many people in the district have international ties and may travel internationally for spring break.

During this time, the district will assess the feasibility of moving to online instruction if extended closures become necessary.

“We felt like it was in the best interest to enact a very robust social distancing program in our district, which means we're asking everybody to stay home,” Dupre said. “We also know it's very possible that we could have a further extended break for additional weeks or months, even to the end of the school year, we're preparing for that.”

Dupre estimated that approximately 50% of district staff would be considered idled while the district is closed, including all teachers. Essential district staff—including most operations, technology and business staff—will continue to report to work either in person or remotely.

The board also approved the superintendent to secure contracts for goods and services needed to respond to the coronavirus outbreak. District staff said this type of action is common in emergency situations and occurred during Hurricane Harvey. Dupre will provide updates on the contracts secured and expenses incurred by this action at future board meetings.

While the financial implications of these two actions are currently unclear, Dupre said the district’s Chief Financial Officer Bryan Guinn will work to calculate the impact and update the board with that information.

Dupre said in the upcoming weeks, the district will be prepared for the possibility of online learning.

“There are districts that are ahead of us, but we are ahead of many, many districts in regard to our ability to provide some form of [online] learning for students,” Dupre said.

However, Dupre said the district needs to manage expectations about online learning, hinting that it would not mean full-time video instruction from teachers. If online learning is necessary, Dupre said the district will try to ensure that move does not exacerbate inequities in the district.

Dupre said he has been in communication with neighboring districts as well as Texas Commissioner of Education Mike Morath. He provided the board updates on those ongoing discussions.

Many trustees expressed concerns about losing school funding over the extended closures and potential student absences. At this time, Dupre said the state is urging districts to use their bad weather days, and then keeping track of additional closures and all coronavirus-related student absences so that the state can provide waivers as needed.

“[Morath said they're going to figure out a way to make sure we do not lose funding related to [coronvirus],” Dupre said. “There were no specifics provided, but he did indicate that they are on top of that, and that they're planning to have a system in place again, as they did with Harvey, to make sure we're held harmless on our funding, even if we're in a closure for an extended period.”

Dupre said at this time the state has not addressed accountability measures including STAAR tests, which are scheduled to begin in early April.

“As a leader of this district, I've had to say we may come to a point where we say we're not taking the test, honestly, if we think our kids are not ready,” Dupre said. “So we may have to have some hard conversations about that in the future. But, for right now, I think we just take it one day at a time.”

Starting on March 16 and throughout the duration the district is closed, Dupre announced FBISD will provide breakfast and lunch at eight to 10 locations throughout the district for any child living in the area. Additional details on this meal plan are expected to be released on March 13.

Dupre said while the district does not have the infrastructure to support child care, he hopes community members will come together and help one another.

“This is where our community has to rally together,” Dupre said. “There are going to be many parents who have to work and their children are going to need someone to take care of them. I don't know that we don't have a system to manage that, but certainly we're hoping that local faith-based organizations, nonprofits, and frankly just neighbors will reach out to help care for the children in our community,”

Dupre said all communication from the district regarding coronavirus updates will be available on the FBISD website.

By Claire Shoop

Reporter, Northwest Austin

Claire joined Community Impact Newspaper in September 2019 as the reporter for the Sugar Land/Missouri City edition and in December 2021 moved to Austin to become the reporter for the Northwest Austin edition. She graduated from The University of Texas at Austin in May 2019 where she studied journalism, government and Arabic. While in school, Claire was a fellow for The Texas Tribune, worked for the student newspaper, The Daily Texan, and spent a semester in Washington, D.C. She enjoys playing cards with her family and listening to the Boss, Bruce Springsteen.