School closures and more Central Texas coronavirus news

New Braunfels ISD and Comal ISD will be closed through the rest of the 2019-2020 school year. (Courtesy Fotolia)
New Braunfels ISD and Comal ISD will be closed through the rest of the 2019-2020 school year. (Courtesy Fotolia)

New Braunfels ISD and Comal ISD will be closed through the rest of the 2019-2020 school year. (Courtesy Fotolia)

Read the latest updates from the past week of coverage in the Central Texas area.

Governor Abbott closes all Texas schools through the remainder of the semester

In a press conference April 17, Gov. Greg Abbott announced that all schools will remain closed through the end of the school year.

Georgetown ISD special education teachers face unique challenges with distance learning

In a job that already requires individualized attention and detail, Georgetown ISD special education teachers are doing their best to make accommodations for students as they continue to learn virtually.

On March 31, GISD announced schools would be closed through at least May 1, and all graded school work would begin April 6. But for students who learn differently, the change can be extra daunting for educators.

St. Edward’s University cuts six varsity athletic programs

The St. Edward’s University varsity men’s and women’s tennis, men’s and women’s golf, men’s soccer and co-ed cheer teams will be discontinued after the spring semester as the university deals with the financial challenges caused by the coronavirus, according to an April 15 media release.

Here’s a breakdown of 4 financial relief programs aimed to save small Texas businesses

The state’s Office of the Governor hosted a webinar on April 15 highlighting four loan services available through the Small Business Association for business owners who may be financially struggling as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Williamson County commissioners consider not adding new positions as budget season approaches

Williamson County commissioners Cynthia Long and Valerie Covey said the county will likely not add any new positions fiscal year 2020-21 as the county moves forward with budget discussions for during an April 14 meeting.

Travis County institutes hiring freeze amid considerations to mitigate budget impacts from coronavirus

The Travis County Commissioners Court voted April 14 to institute a hiring freeze for most jobs under the umbrella of Travis County government in an effort to mitigate the financial hit of the coronavirus—which is projected by county staff to be at least $25.7 million in the current fiscal year.

Travis County health officials: Face masks need to become part of culture to reopen society

Wearing cloth face coverings over the nose and mouth when performing most activities away from home has evolved from a recommendation into a legal obligation under new coronavirus mitigation orders issues by Austin-Travis County officials on April 13.

Escott: Central Texas officials to provide racial, ethnic breakdown of coronavirus hospitalizations, deaths by end of week

Austin and Travis County health officials are not sharing race or ethnicity information with the public when it comes to hospitalizations and deaths, but Austin-Travis County interim Health Authority Dr. Mark Escott said he expects those statistics to be available by the end of the week.

2,000 in-home test kits raise concerns in Hays County

Hays County Judge Ruben Becerra announced during a recent Commissioners Court meeting that 2,000 in-home test kits for COVID-19 would be available for county residents, but no in-home testing kits have been approved by the U.S Food and Drug Administration.

Kalahari on track for November opening in Round Rock despite coronavirus pandemic, contractors say

Kalahari Resorts & Conventions is on schedule for a November opening in Round Rock despite the coronavirus pandemic, according to general contractors Hensel Phelps.

Ali Linan, Jack Flagler, Adriana Rezal, Olivia Aldridge, Christopher Neely, Warren Brown, Evelin Garcia and Taylor Jackson Buchanan contributed to this report.


Crawfish season,  from mid-January through June, is the busiest time at Shoal Creek Saloon. (Olivia Aldridge/Community Impact Newspaper)
Shoal Creek Saloon brings a piece of New Orleans to Austin

COVID-19 has dealt the Shoal Creek Saloon a blow, but owner Ray Canfield is hanging in there and said he was prepared for a disaster. He just thought it would be another flood, not a virus.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee recommended Johnson & Johnson’s one-shot vaccine for emergency authorization use Feb. 26. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine recommended for emergency authorization use by FDA

This is the third COVID-19 vaccine that has been approved for emergency authorization use after those produced by pharmaceutical company Pfizer and biotechnology company Moderna.

Josh Frank, owner of Blue Starlite Mini Urban Drive-in for more than a decade, holds up a Blue Starlite-branded mask. (Photo by Olivia Aldridge/Community Impact Newspaper)
Long-time Austin theater Blue-Starlite Mini Urban Drive-In takes on new life in pandemic

Drive-in theater Blue Starlite found itself in a unique position in 2020: After more than 10 years as a small business “just getting by,” demand for drive-in movies exploded, owner Josh Frank said.

The University of Texas Radio-Television-Film department will be offering virtual camps this summer. (Courtesy The University of Texas)
2021 Central Austin summer camp guide: 44 options including virtual and in-person offerings

Our list of camps happening in Austin this summer includes options focusing on academics, arts, sports and language.

Samsung's proposed $17 billion chip-making plant would dwarf other recent megaprojects that sought tax incentives in the region.
Samsung’s request to pay no property tax on $17 billion plant tests Austin’s incentive policy

Samsung is asking for 100% property tax reimbursement over 25 years, which would mark the most aggressive corporate tax break in Austin history.

A new Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine could help expand vaccination availability in Travis County, according to local health officials. (Courtesy Pexels)
Johnson & Johnson vaccine could mean additional supply, easier distribution rollout in Travis County

If approved, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be a valuable weapon against the ongoing pandemic, according to local health officials.

Austin ISD students will begin the 2021-22 school year Tuesday, Aug. 17. (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)
Take a look at Austin ISD’s newly approved calendar for the 2021-22 school year

Austin ISD trustees have approved the academic calendar for the upcoming 2021-22 school year.

Snow covers I-45 in Houston during a winter storm that hit Texas the night of Feb. 14. (Shawn Arrajj/Community Impact Newspaper)
Legislators probe energy officials over power failures, lack of preparation heading into winter storm

The Texas Legislature held hearings Feb. 25 with energy companies including Oncor Electric Delivery and the Electric Reliability Council of Texas in response to last week’s historic winter storm, which left millions of Texans without electricity for days.

Austin ISD students are scheduled to return to classrooms March 1 for the first time since Winter Storm Uri. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Winter storm damage could prevent 10 Austin ISD campuses from reopening next week

Austin ISD students are scheduled to return to classrooms March 1 for the first time since Winter Storm Uri.

A tree's branches fell on a car in North Austin in the midst of Winter Storm Uri in February. With downed tree limbs and burst water lines causing property damage across Austin, the city has directed additional funds into programs to help some homeowners with emergency home repairs. (Iain Oldman/Community Impact Newspaper)
Still in crisis mode, Austin City Council initiates recovery following winter storm

With 200 to 400 apartment and condo complexes in Austin still without water, City Council is aiming to direct aid and relieve some of the financial burden felt by residents following the devastating winter storms.

Photo of a knife cutting through brisket
La Barbecue heads to new home on East Cesar Chavez Street

The popular barbecue joint will move to its new location in May.