KISD Superintendent, City Leaders Discuss Recovery Process

KISD Superintendent, City Leaders Discuss Recovery Process
02/19/2021
By: KISD
On Friday, February 19, Killeen ISD Superintendent Dr. John Craft and representatives from the City of Killeen (Kent Cagle), City of Harker Heights (David Mitchell), and the City of Nolanville (Kara Escajeda) held a joint press conference to address the next phase of recovery following the unprecedented weather in Central Texas. 
  
“We have truly all experienced a surreal weather experience that will require coordinated efforts to recover from. We have to work to stand our community up,” said KISD Superintendent Dr. Craft. 
 
Dr. Craft explained that as the district works to move forward, their top priorities are the safety of all staff and students, recovering the community, and returning to learning. Through a strategic and targeted recovery process, the district hopes to reopen campuses soon. All KISD campuses and district offices will be closed on Monday, February 22. No in-person or virtual instruction will be required. Staff members are encouraged to refrain from going to their buildings until each facility has been thoroughly inspected and repaired. The district will release information on Sunday to employees and families on the next steps.
 
As for recovering the lost days of instructional learning, the proposed plan is to only make up two school days. Back in October of 2020, the School Board voted to adjust the calendar to include additional early out days; these dates (2/26, 3/6, 4/16, and 4/30) would revert to full school days to accumulate the minutes for one school day. The second make-up day would be April 2, already designated as a bad weather make-up day, will become a remote learning day for all students. All changes to the academic calendar must be voted on and approved by the board, which will be on the agenda at Tuesday’s meeting. Dr. Craft and the Board will work to look at waivers and other forms of relief for the remaining days. At this time, the district is not planning to change spring break or extend the school year.
  
The district is preparing support services that they feel they can provide as a school district, to include preparing grab and go meals similar to those provided last Spring, beginning next week. Additional information will be forthcoming.
 
“We’ve got to put people, we’ve got to put safety first and foremost. Check on your neighbors. Let’s take care of one another. That’s what our community is created to do: work together,” charged Craft.
 
Harker Heights representative David Mitchell added that “Neighbors are serving neighbors in their community. That’s what Texas is about.”
 
Killeen ISD has created a Wellness Hotline, available at 254-336-HELP (4357), for those in need of mental health support during these challenging times. KISD counselors are available from 8 am - 8 pm, every day, until the district reopens. 
 
Craft warned the community to not fall for scams, especially regarding FEMA. “Be vigilant” he advised.
 
This weekend, District Leadership will begin to assess all facilities across the district. There will be two waves to ensure that the buildings are safe for occupancy as temperatures rising and pipes beginning to unfreeze could cause situations to change at campuses and facilities. Once these have been cleared, the district will notify employees. Major hurdles to be expected include water, electric sustainability, and pipe leaks. As of Friday, the district is aware of several issues across 27 of its facilities.
 
“I want to give a shoutout to our teachers who have been working diligently to support students through enrichment support virtually,” said Craft.
 
The district’s intent is to keep all hourly and waged employees' pay as a whole. Craft explained that the district dedicated to keeping their paychecks whole, to be discussed at the board meeting on Tuesday, February 23.
 
The district plans to give further details on Sunday afternoon; all updates through their mass communication system, district website, and district social media accounts.
  
City of Killeen Updates:
  • State of Disaster declared on February 10
  • Opened warming centers for residents who needed it, averaging 75 people per night
  • Provided transport for 72 health care workers
  • Increased fire fighter staffing with high numbers of calls
  • Calls have doubled for police, fire fighters
  • Created a 24 hour customer service center; replied to approximately 500 calls and 400 emails per day
  • City of Killeen currently in Stage 5 Water Conservation and Boil Water notice
  • Distributed 1000 lb. of sand across roadways
  • Solid waste collection was paused throughout week, will resume Sunday
To learn more, go to: https://www.killeentexas.gov/
 
City of Nolanville Updates:
  • Code Red Alert System: Messaging for city emergency updates
  • Reminder: document all of your property damage
  • No severe water damage to note
  • North Nolanville is under a boil water notice due to being under a different water district
  • Encouraged to keep conserving water “for the good of everybody”
  • Trash services resumed Friday afternoon
  • Majority of electricity restored for the city
  • Non-emergency police number: 254-698-6334
  • Resuming the Endeavor Project and extending it to essential services; please call City Hall for more information
  • COVID testing to resume Monday
  • Water filling stations available
To learn more, go to: https://www.nolanvilletx.gov/

City of Harker Heights Updates:
  • State of Disaster declared on February 16
  • City Hall reopened Friday at noon
  • Encouraged citizens to conserve water as they can
  • Power is being returned
  • Warming centers were made available 24/7 to residents
  • Water filling stations available
To learn more, go to: https://harkerheights.gov/
 
https://www.killeenisd.org/resources

Watch The 02/19/2021 Joint Press Conference Below

 
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