Texas schools will remain closed for the rest of the 2019-2020 school year.
Governor Greg Abbott made the announcement during a press conference today addressing concerns related to schools and businesses.
“The team of doctors advising us have determined that it would be unsafe to allow students to gather in schools for the foreseeable future. As a result, school classrooms are closed for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year,” Abbott said. “That includes, all public, private and higher education institutions.”
Superintendent Andrew Kim said he was relieved.
“This is sad news in many ways and perhaps too much to comprehend now,” Kim wrote in an email to district employees. “While this decision is the right one in my opinion, the finality of our school year under current circumstances is surreal.”
Abbott also addressed the process of reopening the state while revising hospital capacity and certain social distancing guidelines.
“Texans are battling a colossal challenge—an invisible enemy that has tested our lives and our livelihoods—but overcoming challenges is part of who we are as Texans,” he said.
Seniors reacted with disappointment regarding the news.
“Well, there’s the obvious: seeing my friends during the week,” senior Tori Quinones said, “and as a senior, we weren’t able to have our senior walk, prom, etc. And I like being able to learn in a classroom rather than online.”
The governor also outlined a plan to allow retail outlets to reopen beginning April 24. Reopened establishments will have to deliver items to customer’s cars, homes, or other locations to minimize contact.
While schools are closed, teachers may go into the classroom for video instruction, to perform administrative duties, and to clean out their classrooms.
The governor also said all licensed health care professionals and all licensed health care facilities must continue to postpone all surgeries and procedures that are not medically necessary until May 8.
State parks will reopen on Monday with strict guidelines to reduce transmission of COVID-19 – including requiring visitors to wear face coverings, maintain a six-foot distance from individuals outside of their party, and prohibiting the gathering of groups larger than five.
Kim said the district expects word from the Texas Education Agency sometime next week about graduation.