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'We have weathered many storms' | Houston ISD superintendent addresses recent FBI raid, coronavirus concerns

Superintendent Grenita Lathan spoke with KHOU about the recent FBI raid, TEA takeover and coronavirus concerns.

HOUSTON — Dr. Grenita Lathan delivered Houston Independent School District's annual “state of schools” address Friday during the HISD Foundation's annual luncheon.

"We have weathered many storms in our district," said Lathan during the speech. "Many storms.”

Lathan focused on the future during her address. But she also spoke with us about the recent past.

That includes last week’s FBI and IRS activity at district headquarters and at the chief operating officer’s home, which led to him being placed on paid administrative leave.

RELATED: FBI conducting 'court authorized law enforcement activity' at HISD's headquarters

"Any time there’s a concern as it relates to personnel, we make decisions of what happens to them in the interim while matters are being looked into,” said Lathan.

Meanwhile, the Texas Education Agency’s planned takeover of HISD is held up in court.

RELATED: Teachers, students, parents rally after state takeover of HISD temporarily blocked

RELATED: Judge issues injunction to stop TEA takeover of HISD

But many believe it’s inevitable, despite some student achievement and other improvements.

"But our focus has to remain on every child that we serve," said Lathan.  "We have over 210,000 students that arrive to us daily, seeking and wanting to receive a quality education.”

Complicating matters of late are concerns over the coronavirus.

The district has already devoted an entire section on its website to the illness.

RELATED: Coronavirus | Here’s how Houston-area school districts are helping their students

RELATED: HISD launches website to provide updates on coronavirus

"And we’ve communicated information to our team members (and) to our parents,” said Lathan.

HISD is asking all students, families and staff to take extra precautions when traveling over spring break and to self-quarantine for 14 days if returning from countries identified in the CDC’s travel warnings.

"If the virus continues to grow and we were to become impacted, we’re ready to provide services to our students," said Lathan. "That might be through distance learning where students can utilize laptops, go online.”

VISIT: KHOU's special coronavirus information section

For a district dealing with multiple challenges, Lathan said they're ready for whatever comes next.

For more information, visit HISD's coronavirus information page.


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