Schools to remain closed until May 4, governor says

Abbott extends social distancing guidelines through April 30

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Editor's note: This story has been updated throughout.

In a press conference Tuesday afternoon, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott extended his previous order of enforcing social distancing guidelines through April 30.

The updated order “(directs) all Texans to minimize non-essential gatherings and in-person contact with people who are not in the same household,” a press release from the governor’s office states.

Included in the extension are schools, “which will remain temporarily closed to in-person classroom attendance through May 4, 2020,” the release states.

Sealy ISD Superintendent Sheryl Moore provided an update Wednesday afternoon.

“As you have probably heard, Governor Abbott has ordered the closing of schools through May 4th,” the release states. “We have many of the same questions that you do: Will school resume this year at all? What about graduation? How will we determine grades and promotions?

“Some of the questions must be resolved at the state and federal level, so there is no immediate answer,” it continues. “As we receive guidance or are able to make local decisions, we will communicate them to you. Until then, we are continuing our work in developing a remote learning environment for our students and parents. Please know that Sealy ISD is working to be responsive to the feedback we get from parents, students, and staff as we plan for the rest of the year.”

Sealy ISD’s Board of Trustees is scheduled to hold a special meeting Friday evening to consider the extension of school closure, rescinding the emergency employee pay resolution, a resolution to delegate authority for waivers and a resolution to postpone school board election.

Bellville ISD stated Tuesday afternoon that it will continue following the governor’s orders by using that same timeline.

"In response to today's press conference with Governor Abbott: Bellville ISD will remain closed through May 1, 2020," its release reads. "School operations will resume on May 4, 2020 unless otherwise directed by the State. Additional information specific to Bellville ISD operations will be shared out tomorrow afternoon following a meeting of the BISD Board of Trustees."

Brazos ISD announced Wednesday afternoon that they will also be following the Governor's timeline.

"In accordance with Governor Abbott’s recent mandate, all schools, including Brazos ISD, are closed until, Monday, May 4, 2020," the statement says. "Please follow the campus Facebook pages and listen to all School Messenger announcements for further communication."

“Social distancing is our best tool in the fight against COVID-19, and the actions we have taken thus far have proven to be effective in limiting the spread of this virus,” said Abbott. “Now it is time to redouble our efforts to reduce further exposure as much as possible and flatten the curve. As with all the actions the state is taking, the Essential Services and Activities Protocols is informed by the expertise and guidance of the CDC as well as state and local health officials.

“I urge my fellow Texans to heed these heightened social distancing directives to protect their health and the health of those around them,” he continued. “By following these guidelines, we will limit the spread of COVID-19 and overcome this challenge together.”

Rest of Sealy ISD statement:

Dear Tiger Family,

First and foremost, thank you for the support and cooperation you have shown throughout this trying time. Parents, students, teachers, staff, and administrators are all doing their best, so the grace you have shown to us and one another is very much appreciated.

Here are some of the decisions we are working on as a leadership team and will be sharing out in the coming days:

  • After the Easter weekend, beginning April 13th, the assignments your students will begin receiving will shift from review + spiraling prior learning to that of new content and skills. We are developing those lessons now and will be very mindful to ensure that all the necessary supports are there for parents to help their students. We will utilize more video instruction and other interactive instructional supports to help students succeed.
  • Grading procedures and collection of student work samples--we will have our final plan in place by early next week. We will release that to all parents and students through our district website and social media outlets by Wednesday, April 8th.
  • We continue to refine how student packets and assignments are made available to elementary students and their families. We will share our refined plan for elementary packet distribution on Thursday, April 2nd through the district website and social media outlets.

Finally, Governor Abbott has created a daily Health Message that school districts are required to disseminate to students, parents, faculty, and staff. So that you do not confuse these messages with school information, we have decided to push these communications out daily at 4:00 pm. The messages from the Governor’s office will be in the form of texts, emails, and social media.

As always, if you have specific questions or issues, please communicate with your child’s teacher, counselor, or principal. Until we meet again at a responsible social distance, I wish you well.

Superintendent,

Sheryl Moore

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