Houston ISD has abandoned a proposal for a year-round school calendar starting Aug. 1, reverting to its original schedule, with an Aug. 24 start date. This comes as Gov. Greg Abbott reportedly told legislators on a conference call Thursday (June 18) that Texas schools will reopen for in-person instruction in August with no requirements for districts to mandate the wearing of masks or COVID-19 testing.
HISD had approved a resolution in May to become a state-designated “District of Innovation,” permitting the calendar change, as well as some controversial matters concerning teachers. But an HISD statement Thursday indicated that the new calendar was problematic to many parents who responded to a survey. The stumbling block was intersessional breaks for students requiring additional instructional time, which was “a difficult option for many parents,” according to the district statement.
HISD will still offer 10 targeted remediation days — Academic Boot Camps — for students who have fallen behind in their coursework because of the COVID-19 crisis. Schools closed after spring break and resumed classes via “distance learning” until the end of the academic year.
The district said going back to the original calendar will allow the district more time to react to the fluctuations in COVID-19 cases, to make decisions about in-person or virtual learning — or a hybrid.
But shortly afterward, word came of the governor’s call, confirmed by officials with the Texas Education Agency. The TEA said accommodations would be made for distance learning for those with health issues. Additional details are expected to be released by the TEA next Tuesday.
Click here to see a full-size version of the HISD calendar.