The Houston School District will close beginning Wednesday, it was announced Monday night.

Spring break will start early for the Houston School District, which Monday night announced it will adjourn beginning Wednesday through April 3 because of concerns related to an outbreak of the coronavirus, which is impacting the country.

“The spread of COVID-19 in our region requires school districts to be flexible and make decisions that are in the best interest of public health, said Dr. Allen Moss in a release to parents, staff and patrons of the district.

There are no known cases in Texas County, officials said late Monday afternoon. Schools at Success, Licking and Raymondville also announced that they would close beginning Wednesday. Plato adjourned beginning Monday. 

The closure affects  all extra- and co-curricular activities, including athletic competitions, practices and after-school programs and events.  Per the Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA), “If a school has determined that they are closing for a period of time due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19), then no practices or games should occur during that time.”

The district was already set for a break on this Friday and Monday of next week.

“The Houston district understands that this is a very uncertain time for everyone, but the public can be certain of one thing: We are focused on protecting the safety and well-being of students, staff and their families,” Moss said. “This decision has been made after consultation with Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, the Texas County Health Department, Texas County emergency manager and other school districts in our area. For this to have the expected effect, we ask all parents and guardians to follow the CDC recommendations.”

Moss said the Houston district recognizes that this decision will have a wide-reaching impact on many people, so plans are being developed to support the school and community. Areas of consideration, but not yet determined, include the following:

•Meal service

•Alternative learning opportunities and resources (including guidance as it relates to assignments and grades)

•School calendar adjustments/modifications

•Extra-curricular and intra-curricular activities/contests

Logistics and other specifics related to the delivery of services during school closure will be forthcoming, he said.

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As this unprecedented situation continues to evolve, additional modifications may be necessary, Moss said.  “As decisions are made, we will continue to share information through regular communication channels,” he said.

The district noted families play an important role in protecting individuals from the spread of COVID-19 and are encouraged to follow the guidance of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Additional reporting appears at The Houston Herald, beginning Monday, made all of its COVID-19 content available to anyone who accesses its website.

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