As the World Health Organization officially declared the coronavirus a pandemic Wednesday (March 11), area schools took an array of actions — including one closing — in response to the threat posed by COVID-19, the corona virus.
St. Thomas Episcopal School in Meyerland told families Tuesday that it was closing for two weeks — one of them, next week, is spring break — since one student was possibly exposed indirectly to the virus.
St. John’s School has canceled all school-related student travel during spring break, a popular time for athletic tournaments and academic competitions, and has suggested families refrain from traveling to high-risk countries identified by the Centers for Disease Control. If they do travel to those areas, they are asked to alert the school, and students will receive excused absences for a quarantine period upon return, according to a notification to parents.
St. John’s is also among schools, including Episcopal High in Bellaire and Houston ISD — which are exploring options for distance learning.
HISD reported that “several individuals” at unidentified campuses have self-quarantined for 14 days after returning from one of the CDC-identified travel risk areas or being close to someone who has. The district is asking students and staff who travel to those countries to notify their campuses and self-quarantine for 14 days.
Earlier, the district announced that student absences would be marked as excused, with perfect attendance guidelines suspended for the rest of the school year and attendance criteria for final exam exemptions for high school students suspended this spring. Perfect attendance for the 2019-20 school year will be recognized through March 6.