March 31, 2020
Tuesday, March 31, 2020
Dear Huntsville ISD Parents, Staff, and Community:
If you are like me, it is still a little hard to believe we are in our current situation as a worldwide community. As the COVID-19 pandemic raged on, two days ago President Trump extended federal social distancing guidelines until the end of April. Moments ago, Governor Abbott issued an executive order closing Texas schools until May 4. In Huntsville ISD, we agree with these steps which are in line with our continual priority to keep our students, staff and community safe; therefore, Huntsville ISD is extending closure of our campuses through Friday, May 1, with a possible return date of Monday, May 4.
Learning at home is the new normal for now. It is vital for students and parents to understand that school is not over for the year just because we are physically closed and unable to meet face to face. Even if we are able to reopen campuses in May to wrap up loose ends, we must operate from the mindset that we can no longer wait to cover new material and finish course content. While the state has canceled STAAR and EOC tests for the year, they have not backed off on expectations for students to demonstrate mastery of this year’s learning objectives. Teachers have been in contact with students, work has been available online and in limited paper packets, and of course, this has looked different for elementary and secondary students. In the coming days, you will hear more about our strengthened educational plans during closure and a shift from optional work meant for review, to required assignments designed to finish courses. We will work with each individual child and family in our district to help them finish the year strong!
Our promises to our school community are simple. Above all, we will make decisions that protect your health and safety. As for the education, promotion, and graduation of our Hornets, we will make certain every student has ample opportunities to demonstrate they have learned the content of their current courses so they can move forward. For our seniors, the goal is to graduate on time. For underclassmen, the goal is to successfully pass every class and prepare for next year. For our Pre-K through middle school kids, the goal is for every student to be fully prepared and promoted to the next grade. To reach these goals, teachers, parents, and students must work together to make learning happen while campuses are closed.
In addition to our increasing efforts to deliver instructional materials through both high tech and low tech means, Huntsville ISD will continue to serve our kids and community through our free meal programs that have been very successful and expanding since closure began. Communication from your campus administration and individual teachers will likely increase as our physical closure continues, and you should also continue to check the Huntsville ISD Coronavirus Information Update webpage: www.huntsville-isd.org/
As we have reminded you throughout this crisis, please continue to keep general health precautions in mind, as outlined by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): www.cdc.gov/coronavirus and the Texas Department of State Health Services (TxDSHS): www.dshs.state.tx.us/
Thank you for your ongoing patience and understanding as we navigate this unprecedented event. Do your best to focus on the now and the known, and we will continually adjust to meet the needs of our community as things change. Together, we will get through this and come out stronger as we never lose sight of our focus on Building Champions in Huntsville ISD.
Scott Sheppard, Ed.D.