Fort Bend ISD presents health, wellness plans for the 2021-22 school year

FBISD officials shared updated health and safety protocols during the July 19 board of trustees meeting. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
FBISD officials shared updated health and safety protocols during the July 19 board of trustees meeting. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

FBISD officials shared updated health and safety protocols during the July 19 board of trustees meeting. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

As Fort Bend ISD prepares to return to school in person Aug. 11, district officials shared updated health and safety protocols, including how it would respond to positive COVID-19 cases.

Pilar Westbrook, FBISD’s executive director of social emotional learning and comprehensive health, said during the July 19 board of trustees meeting that student and staff health and safety is a priority for the district as all students return to the classroom in person for the 2021-22 school year. The Texas Legislature did not fund virtual schools offered by public school districts during the 87th regular legislative session, which ended in May.

The district’s COVID-19 protocols include providing personal protective equipment related to hand washing and sanitizing, cleaning district facilities and maintaining 3 feet of social distancing when possible.

“We know that we have to provide the leeway for campuses to provide education to 100% of their students in person,” Westbrook said, adding that campuses will receive guidance on how to social distance in the best manner.

Additionally, students and staff will self-screen for symptoms prior to reporting to school, and positive COVID-19 tests will be reported to the district. Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 will receive isolation and quarantine guidance from the district as well as final approval to return to school based on their unique circumstance, according to the FBISD Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Services plan.

If someone is determined by the county—the agency the district is partnering with for contact tracing efforts—to be in close contact of a positive case, that person will quarantine for 10 days without a test, or for seven days if a negative PCR test is conducted on day five, Westbrook said. Individuals who are fully vaccinated are not required to quarantine if exposed to a positive COVID-19 case, and proof of vaccination must be provided, Westbrook said.

Lastly, if a vaccinated or unvaccinated person is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, that individual cannot return to campus within 24 hours of experiencing symptoms and must all attain a negative PCR test, an alternative medical diagnosis or let 10 days pass since symptoms first appeared, district documents show.

While students are out of school due to a COVID-19-related incident, they will be able to access lessons online using Schoology and connect with teachers via video conferencing, said Melissa Hubbard, executive director of teaching and learning. Teachers can also choose, but are not required, to teach online and in-person students synchronously.

“We want to maintain the instruction even if kids may not be physically seated in the classroom because we are already dealing with learning loss,” Hubbard said.

The district will continue to report COVID-19 cases to the Texas Education Agency weekly, Westbrook said.

While the COVID-19 vaccine is available for individuals age 12 years and older, the district will not require students or staff to be vaccinated.

Masks are also optional after Gov. Greg Abbott’s May 18 executive order prohibited districts from imposing a mask mandate.

"If students or staff choose to wear a mask, they are permitted to do so, and that choice will be respected,” Westbrook said.

In addition to caring for students' physical health, Westbrook said the district is focused on whole-child health, including mental health and counseling initiatives.

FBISD’s Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Services plan, which details the health and safety measures for the 2021-22 school year, is available in English and Spanish.

By Claire Shoop

Reporter, Sugar Land/Missouri City

Claire joined Community Impact Newspaper in September 2019 as the reporter for the Sugar Land/Missouri City 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.


As variants are isolated and identified, Houston Methodist's Dr. Ian Glass believes the vaccines available can handle identified variants (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
'The vaccines we have are effective against all the variants out there': Houston Methodist's Dr. Ian Glass discusses variants, vaccinations

As Houston Methodist identified its first case of the lambda variant July 19, Dr. Glass believes vaccines can handle known variants.

Peter Lake (left), chair of the Public Utility Commission of Texas, and Brad Jones, interim president and CEO of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, provided an update on state regulators' electric grid redesign efforts in Austin on July 22. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Regulators: Texas electric grid prepared for potentially record-breaking demand next week; 'once-in-a-generation reforms' underway

The heads of the agencies in charge of the Texas electric grid met in Austin on July 22 to provide updates on their grid reform efforts.

Takara Sushi & Asian Bistro, a new restaurant in Sugar Land, serves a variety of sushi options. (Courtesy Pexels)
Takara Sushi & Asian Bistro opens in Sugar Land

Takara Sushi & Asian Bistro is now open in the former location of Azuma on the Lake.

Lumin Lash, a eyebrow extension and beauty services business, opened in Missouri City on July 15. (Courtesy Lumin Lash)
Eyelash extension business Lumin Lash opens in Missouri City

Lumin Lash offers a variety of services including eyelash extensions, eyelash and eyebrow tinting, microblading and permanent makeup.

The community features a 12-acre farm with an orchard, a greenhouse, homes for goats and chickens, seasonal produce sold on-site each Saturday and a vineyard managed by Messina Hof. (Courtesy Harvest Green)
Texas Association of Builders dubs Harvest Green as Best Overall Community

In addition to being named Best Overall Community More than 600 Acres, Harvest Green was a finalist in the Best Community Amenity, Best Community Clubhouse and Best Website categories.

Missouri City City Council approved a zoning change that will allow for a new residential and commercial development at Hwy. 6 and the Fort Bend Parkway Toll Road. (Courtesy city of Missouri City/The Dinerstein Companies)
Missouri City City Council approves zoning change to allow for new single-family rental neighborhood

The residential area will be managed and leased like an apartment complex but consist of single-family homes. Find out more about the development coming to Missouri City.

Memorial Hermann has locations throughout the Greater Houston area, including Memorial Hermann The Woodlands Medical Center. (Courtesy Memorial Hermann)
Memorial Hermann visiting policies change as COVID-19 cases rise

As of July 21, Memorial Hermann has changed its visitor policy in light of a recent increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in the Greater Houston area.

Houston unemployment is above state and national levels, while home sales in the region continue to be strong, according to a July 21 economic update from the Greater Houston Partnership. (Emma Whalen/Community Impact Newspaper)
Unemployment, strong housing sales mark 2021 Houston economy, Greater Houston Partnership says

While Houston job recovery lags due to the pandemic, area home sales are strong, according to the Greater Houston Partnership.

Melvin Barahona opened Chunk's Burger on April 1. (Courtesy Chunk's Burger)
Family-owned Chunk's Burger now open on Dulles Avenue in Stafford

Melvin Barahona opened Chunk's Burger on April 1.

The Fort Bend Children's Discovery Center will host a back-to-school vaccine clinic for eligible children ages 0-18. (Courtesy Fort Bend Children's Discovery Center)
Fort Bend Children's Discovery Center to host free immunization event for children July 29

The Fort Bend Children's Discovery Center will host a back-to-school vaccine clinic for eligible children ages 0-18. Parents or guardians must accompany the child and bring immunization records to the appointment.

The restaurant serves a variety of Indian appetizers, entrees and sweets. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
A1 Choice Indian Cuisine opens in Cy-Fair; Torchy's Richmond taco shop coming this week and more Houston-area news

Read the latest business and community news from the Greater Houston area, including a Ross Dress For Less store opening in Cy-Fair.