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HISD exploring year-round school, more remote learning for 2020-21

Supt. Grenita Lathan announced Friday that final decisions would come in the next four weeks

HOUSTON, Texas — Houston ISD interim Supt. Grenita Lathan wore her own medical mask and gloves Friday on the way to a podium outside district headquarters.

"The safety of our students and staff is our top priority,” Lathan said.

She spoke about COVID-19’s impact on HISD this school and what it might mean in the coming months.

"Summer school will be held virtually from June the 8 through July 2,” Lathan said.

The big question for families dealing with distance learning for the last two months is what about the fall?

Lathan said various options are on the table for the 2020-21 academic year, including staggered in-person classes and remote learning.

A combination of various things might also be considered.

She said final decisions will likely come in the next four weeks.

"We’ve also received guidance from the TEA as it relates to possible options of a year-round designation or extended school year calendars," said Lathan. "And we are exploring that as a district.”

The HISD Board of Trustees approved the first step of a plan Thursday night to make the district a so-called “district of innovation.”

That allows for more flexibility in creating school calendars, teacher hiring protocols and attendance requirements.

Meanwhile, work continues to better connect students in technology-challenged households.

And, so far, some 14,000 remote WiFi devices have been handed out since mid-March.

"And I want to thank our students for the flexibility and determination to continue learning from home,” Lathan said.

Lathan said one of the most difficult decisions she’s had to make was cancelling in-person graduations. Instead, virtual graduations will take place beginning June 14.

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