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10 HISD facilities temporarily close due to positive COVID-19 cases

Ten HISD facilities were closed for deep cleanings during the first week of the fall semester, but on-campus instruction hasn't even started.

HOUSTON — Several Houston Independent School District campuses had to temporarily close last week for “deep cleanings” after individuals inside the buildings tested positive for COVID-19. The reports of positive cases come at the same time many are calling for COVID-19 testing at schools.

On-campus instruction hasn't started at HISD, however, several schools and facilities are operating as “digital learning sites” for qualifying students who do not have access to computers at home.

The HISD digital learning sites at Trinity United Methodist Church and Seguin Elementary School both reported positive cases, as well as the following HISD campuses and facilities: Briargrove Elementary School, Janowski Elementary School, Marshall Elementary School, K. Smith Elementary School, Sutton Elementary School, Henry Middle School, Lamar High School and the Hattie Mae White Educational Support Center.

“We closed the facility and we cleaned the facility immediately,” said HISD superintendent Granita Lathan about one of the HISD facilities. “And then we were able to reopen to the building. Those staff members or students who came in contact with the person that’s positive are then asked to quarantine.”

Lathan said she did not know the total number of positive cases at the properties.

“You start up and you stop,” said Rep. Shelia Jackon Lee, (D-Houston), referencing the current situation happening at colleges and universities across the United States. “That is not the way to educate our children.”

Lee is advocating for testing students for COVID-19 on public school campuses. She says she would like to see it happen voluntarily and with parents’ permission.

“We can test, and test, and test, and keep our schools safe,” Lee said.