It’s no secret that these past few weeks have been filled with craziness, fear, and uncertainty. These unprecedented times have caused a new reality for each of us. This includes a new normal of Humble ISD. In order to get a closer look at district operations during this crazy time, we reached out to Mrs. Jamie Mount, from Humble ISD public relations and Dr. Fagen, superintendent of Humble ISD. Dr. Fagen and Ms. Mount were happy to share some information to make these uncertain times a little more understandable.
Recently, It was announced that schools would continue to remain closed until May 1st, after instruction from Texas Governor Greg Abbott. Humble ISD has been working very closely with local and state government at this time to abide by their recommendations and regulations. “We continually received updates and guidance from the Texas Education Agency, the City of Houston, and Harris County”, said Mrs. Mount. Dr. Fagen stated that “the situation is developing quickly”, and that “it is possible that the [May 1st] date will be extended”. With this extension, the district is continuing to support its students and staff.
In preparation for the switch to an online learning environment, the district made sure that teachers were prepared. Dr. Fagen outlined that the district began “professional development and learning opportunities for teachers… to provide them with new strategies and tools”. From updating tools for the IT department to even providing virtual medical care for district staff (through the Wellvia program), the district is making sure that employees are taken care of at this time, across all district positions. “Humble ISD joined other employers, like H-E-B and Starbucks in temporarily raising pay for hourly workers who are serving the public outside their homes and physically reporting for tasks, rather than telecommuting.” Mrs. Mount said. “Some school cafeteria staff members are distributing free meals from campus distribution sites. Some bus drivers are driving to deliver food and supplies. Some custodial staff are cleaning and disinfecting areas used for meal distribution.” Staff adjustment has been a priority in this time to Humble ISD. Dr, Fagen continues in this approach with the mindset that “The more we support our staff, the more we support our students”.
In terms of student support, the district plans to “provide a personal approach”, outlines Dr. Fagen. Students are able to pick up meals at six different campuses across the district, and are working to get technology devices to students who may need it. The district has also released new grading guidelines for the 4th grading period, limiting assignments, in attempts to “provide students with a manageable workload” says the superintendent. The district is “working hard at and with our resources to meet the needs of students and staff”, Dr. Fagen furthers.
Another area of concern for many involved in Humble ISD are large events scheduled for students. In regards to these events, such as graduation, Dr. Fagen responded that
that the district is “hoping for the best and planning for the worst… we are preparing for various scenarios”, all in accordance with government guidelines. If restrictions were to prevent graduation as scheduled, some of these scenarios include hosting the event at a more open air Turner Stadium, or the district is also considering “Postponement for events like prom or graduation” until a later date when they can be safely held.
In this trying time, it can be hard to keep positive. However, KHS has been through tough times before, and can strongly get through another one. “The world we live in demands perseverance and resilience and creativity… KHS is prepared to do things differently and change routine quickly” said Dr. Fagen. “The optimism and strength you all demonstrated [during Harvey] was a piece of pride for the district and those in your life… Everyone was extremely proud.” Dr. Fagen spoke on the positive mindset shown by KHS in trying times, and furthered that the students of KHS “will be strong and prepared” for the changing world around us. As a student during what is now called “the Harvey year”, I was able to witness this strength first hand. I saw my classmates and community unite together and face the challenge head on. In our time of trial, we persevered together. Although my 4 years at KHS have been anything but ordinary, like many of my classmates, I know that the mustangs are capable of succeeding despite any circumstance. Whether through flood waters or a pandemic, the mustang spirit is strong within us, and just as I’ve seen us successfully take on a tough situation before, I know we can do it again! Although this situation is a little bit different, our kingwood spirit remains the same.
Covid-19 has had a major impact on all of us, and it is unknown how long its effects will continue. However, in the midst of uncertainty, Humble ISD is working to respond with the interests of students, teachers, and families in mind. It is important to also keep in mind the strength of our community, our resilience and continued focus to be “Kingwood Strong” in every circumstance.
COVID-19 Humble ISD Response and Resource: