Clusters of COVID-19 cases have closed several Leander ISD elementary classrooms and entire sixth-grade levels at two middle schools.

Students at seven elementary campuses at Leander ISD have closed and will transfer temporarily to remote learning. Additionally, all sixth-graders at Canyon Ridge and Wiley middle schools will learn virtually until Sept. 7 due to case clusters. Clusters are defined as three positive confirmed cases.

Elementary closures are at these schools:

  • Bagdad Elementary: specified first-grade students (returning Sept. 3) and fifth-grade students (returning Sept. 7)

  • Cox Elementary: specified fifth-grade students (returning Sept. 7)

  • Knowles Elementary: specified second-grade students (returning Sept. 3)

  • Mason Elementary: specified fifth-grade students (returning Sept. 7)

  • Pleasant Hill Elementary: specified fifth-grade students (returning Sept. 3)

  • Rutledge Elementary: specified fifth-grade students (returning Sept. 7)

  • Whitestone Elementary: specified first-grade students (returning Sept. 7)

Families affected by these classroom closures should have already been contacted, according to the district's COVID-19 webpage.

Instruction will be provided virtually for these students according to Texas Education Agency's remote learning option, according to LISD.

Superintendent Bruce Gearing said at the Aug. 26 board meeting that there are no current major clusters building at the high school level.

Current COVID-19 cases

The district's COVID-19 data reports 344 confirmed cases this week and 14 probable cases as of 6:30 Aug. 27. There is a total of 609 positive and probable cases among students and staff reported since Aug. 5.

Earlier this week, Williamson County and Cities Health District recommended that LISD close its schools for 10 days due to surging COVID-19 cases at LISD.

After WCCHD’s discussion and LISD’s decision to keep schools open, Gearing said Dr. Norwood told Gearing that targeting at the close classroom level could help keep cases under control.

"Unfortunately, closing the entire district cuts 42,000 students’ worth of funding every day for 10 days,” Gearing said. “That is not something that this district can afford to do.”

Gearing said the school could send entire grade levels to remote conferencing at this time while ensuring funding and without splitting schedules since entire teams and grade levels will remote conference together.

“That’s will be a recommendation that we do not make lightly because it has huge implications,” Gearing said. “But we do have to also listen to the conversations that we are having with our health department.”

Virtual learning legislation

There is one special session legislation bill under consideration that could expand virtual learning options for Texas school districts.

Senate Bill 15, which allows school districts to use virtual learning programs through September 2023, was scheduled for a House hearing Aug. 27. The bill limits student funding to 10% of the district population.

Gearing said the bill would give LISD funding for the about 1,500 students currently in remote learning.