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Houston, Harris County schools to remain closed to in-person learning until Sept. 8

The order affects more than 900,000 public and non-religious private school students in Houston and Harris County.

HOUSTON — All Houston and Harris County school districts must postpone in-person learning through at least Labor Day under an order signed by Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo and Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner.

The order affects more than 900,000 public and non-religious private school students in Houston and Harris County.

“Sending students, teachers and staff into classrooms while this virus is still spreading uncontrollably is not only unsafe for the people in the schools, it’s dangerous for their families, friends and the entire community,” said Houston Health Authority Dr. David Persse. 

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All extracurricular activities, athletic and academic competitions -- on or off campus -- are included in the order.

"I owe everything I have to public schools. The last thing we want are closures. But we can't open until we dramatically reduce spread," Hidalgo said. "The harder we work to crush the curve, the sooner kids can responsibly return."

The decision was made with input from the districts and community.

Mayor Turner said he heard from school superintendents, teachers and parents who were very concerned about returning to in-person learning when "the virus is still spreading uncontrollably."

Hidalgo said the order could be extended beyond Sept 8., depending on the status of COVID-19 in our community.

Many area school districts had already revised their plans to offer only online learning in the first few weeks of school. 

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Judge Hidalgo said hospitalizations are down slightly, but cases are up dramatically.

"That is all, still, a raging wildfire in our community," Hidalgo said.

So far through July, Houston is averaging 832 new cases per day. In June, the city averaged 429 new cases per day.

RELATED: US likely at 200,000 daily coronavirus cases, assistant health secretary says

According to Turner and Houston Health Authority Dr. David Persse, the city's positivity rate currently stands at about 25 percent.

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