While the district was out on Spring Break, the Centers for Disease Control updated its guidance to schools relating to the prevention of COVID-19. The main change that impacts HPISD is that the recommendation from the CDC for physical barriers, such as plexiglass, has been removed.
The district committee that reviews our COVID protocols, which includes school principals and district leadership, has approved allowing schools to begin phasing out the use of plexiglass partitions on student desks in district classrooms. Principals will begin working with their leadership teams during the next week to start this process.
Teachers and other staff members will continue to have the option of using partitions on their desks as added protection. Plexiglass and plastic shields will continue to be used in cafeterias where students will be unmasked while eating.
While social distancing requirements have been reduced by the CDC from 6 feet to 3 feet between students, HPISD is required to continue to use 6 feet when contact tracing to determine close contacts for any positive COVID cases. It is important to note that the recommended distance between students and adults, as well as between adults, remains at 6 feet. Staff members have been asked to continue to conduct meetings virtually rather than in-person.
As stated previously and as required by the Texas Education Agency, masks will continue to be required of both students and staff.
Many of our staff members have been able to either receive or set an appointment to receive their COVID vaccine. As a school district, we look at all of these developments as positive news. While it is clear that the pandemic is not over, the light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter by the day. Thank you for your flexibility and patience during a very challenging school year. We are pleased and proud that the prevention strategies put in place at the beginning of the school year have allowed us to safely open for in-person instruction and remain open since September 8.