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HISD adds 15 academic days to 2021-22 school calendar

The district says the added days are a way to combat COVID-related learning loss.

HOUSTON — A remarkably challenging school year is nearing its end but Houston Independent School District leaders are already planning for next year.

They said that due to COVID, next year's calendar will include extra instructional days for many students.

RELATED: List: Here's what Houston-area school districts are doing with statewide mask order lifted

“Fifteen days is what we have right now,” HISD Chief of Staff Silvia Trinh said.

She said learning loss is a major issue and the pandemic’s toll is far greater than the normal “summer slide” most students experience.

"This year has been difficult and there will be ramifications for our students," Trinh said. "So this is our attempt to begin addressing some of those issues and trying to close some of those gaps as early as possible.”

Not everyone will have added days. The district said they’ll look at it on a campus-by-campus or even student-by-student basis.

"We’re going to look at the data," Trinh said. "We’re definitely going to look at teacher recommendations.”

The district is also cognizant of the impact on teachers. Many of them have dealt with teaching in-person and remote students simultaneously. Adequately supporting them is among the Texas Education Agency’s three focus areas for addressing learning loss along with more rigorous instructional materials and more time for students most in need, including the summer if necessary.

"It’s a good start," Trinh said. "Let’s take it from there.”

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