NORTH CHANNEL – School districts in this area are planning on starting classes on Tuesday, September 8. Some had planned an earlier start, in August, but changed their schedule on the advice of health authorities.
Class instruction will open at first only virtually, or on the internet, and after a period of several weeks, will change to a hybrid model where parents can choose to continue at-home learning, or face-to-face in-person in school. In Sheldon and Galena Park, this change will occur in four weeks. In Channelview the change will be in three weeks. However, all districts have stated that they will evaluate the health concerns at the time of change-over, and the schedule may be adjusted further.
In Galena Park ISD a new superintendent will be in charge, Dr. John Moore.
Moore has been educator in the Galena Park ISD system for nearly 30 years. Dr. Moore is overseeing the unusual situation of starting school in the midst of a pandemic. He has instituted a number of practices meant to ensure the safety of students and staff when they finally meet in face-to-face classroom situations.
Measures that Galena Park classroom buildings will include are ultra-violet light machines, which are so bright that they kill all the germs in the room. Dr. Moore says there is one of these lights for each campus, and will be used daily in the classrooms. In addition, all surfaces including desks and other furniture will be sprayed daily with a mist cleaning machine. Dr. Moore says, “You’ll actually see the mist come out and clean the top of the desks.”
To reassure parents and the public, Dr. Moore has made a video, shown on local Channel 2 television, demonstrating these cleaning methods.
Additional safety measures include wearing face masks for all students 1st through 12th grade, and all district personnel. This will also include parents and visitors. The district will have masks available for each person or student.
However, temperature checks and COVID-19 testing will not be done on a regular basis, but school nurses are available if someone exhibits symptoms. Self monitoring at home is encouraged, and will be instructed.
Dr. Moore said that nurses and staff will work to educate the school community on the importance of social distancing, frequent hand-washing, good hygiene practices, and staying home when ill.
The other area districts are following similar safety and cleaning practices, which are expected to be necessary for most of the school year.