Town Square

What Does COVID Safety Look Like As Houston ISD Returns To The Classroom?

Education and medical experts discuss local back-to-school COVID policies and safety. Plus, a parent in Lamar Consolidated ISD shares her personal story about what her young children are facing as they return to a school without a mask mandate.


Students in an HISD classroom on the first day of school on August 23, 2021


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Town Square with Ernie Manouse airs at 3 p.m. CT. Tune in on 88.7FM, listen online or subscribe to the podcast. Join the discussion at 888-486-9677, or @townsquaretalk.

Something that people have been preparing for and concerned about for weeks, if not months, is finally here.

It’s the start of the school year.

With the rise in COVID cases and hospitalizations in children, many parents have increasingly voiced their worries about the return to the classroom.

With Houston Independent School District back to school this week, we want to give you a chance to speak with education and medical experts who are monitoring and addressing the situation.

Are you a parent in HISD with questions about COVID policy?

If masks are required in the classroom, what about on buses or during afterschool activities?

And when can we realistically expect vaccines for children under 12?


Dr. Rick Cruz

  • Deputy Superintendent of Houston Independent School District

Dr. Richard Rupp

  • Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Texas Medical Branch.
  • Medical Director for a set of school-based health clinics located within Galveston ISD.
  • Principal investigator on several COVID-19 vaccine trials including some for Pfizer and Moderna.

Riki Graves

  • Parent of two in Lamar Consolidated ISD
  • She recently spoke in front of the LCISD school board in support of masks on behalf of her elementary school-age children, one of whom is immunocompromised and both of whom receive special education

Centers for Disease Control

Houston Independent School District COVID dashboard:

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Catherine Lu

Catherine Lu

Senior Content Producer & Announcer

While growing up in Chicago and Houston, Catherine’s love for art, music and creative writing was influenced by her teachers and parents. She was once concertmaster of the Clear Lake High School Orchestra and a four-time violinist of the Texas All-State Symphony. A graduate of the University of Chicago, Catherine...

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