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Houston-area school districts prepared for Gov. Abbott's ordered closure

A a number of education leaders were not surprised by the governor’s decision and support it.

HOUSTON, Texas — Texas schools will remain closed for the remainder of the 2019-2020 academic year.

That was part of what Gov. Greg Abbott announced Friday.

It applies to public schools, private schools and colleges and universities.

“The team of doctors advising us have determined that it would be unsafe to allow students to gather in schools for the foreseeable future," said Abbott during a news conference Friday. "As a result, school classrooms are closed for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year.”

The Texas Education Agency, or TEA, will be providing more details to public schools, including how to hold graduation ceremonies.

Meanwhile, higher education officials will advise colleges and universities about how to conclude the current semester and operate over the summer.

"Teachers will be allowed in the classroom for video instruction, if they choose, and to perform administrative duties," said Abbott.

A a number of education leaders were not surprised by the governor’s decision and support it.

In fact, many Houston-area districts had plans in place.

"It’s very difficult to social-distance in a school, particularly for high schools that are overcrowded or elementary schools that are primarily serving students who are, developmentally, at a very tactile state and touching everything," said Zeph Capo, president of the Houston Federation of Teachers and the Texas chapter of American Federation of Teachers.  

Capo said distance learning has been a big challenge for many educators and families and that schools are often the safest place for students.

But re-opening too soon could have more serious consequences.

"Opening for the next few weeks, potentially, could have caused us to delay the opening of school in August," said Capo. "And I think that’s the last thing anyone wants.”

The TEA said it continues to work with individual districts to ensure kids are getting what they need, including free meals and support services.

Please visit your school district's website for specific information on at-home learning, graduation, grading policies, etc.