Traditionally, the annual event delivered by the LTISD superintendent touches upon enrollment updates, legislative properties and improvement projects—but this year’s presentation largely centered on the coronavirus.
Norton joined the district in July as LTISD was addressing the many challenges associated with the 2020-21 school year. LTISD and all Texas districts shut down in April in accordance with orders from Gov. Greg Abbott. LTISD went 178 days without having students on campus.
“There were lots of obstacles put in the way,” Norton said. “But this community as a whole has overcome those challenges and our school district, in particular, has done a phenomenal job of dealing with things.”
As of Oct. 13, 65% of LTISD students are back on campus, but the percentage varies per school, Norton said. The remaining students are voluntarily engaging in remote learning, which Norton said will likely be an option for the rest of the school year.
Considering the district’s size of more than 11,000 students, Norton told attendees there have been a small number of reported positive cases. There were two active coronavirus cases among students or roughly 0.02% of the student body as of Oct. 21, according to the district’s public COVID-19 dashboard.
Enrollment has been a point of discussion within LTISD for years; however, the district has seen a slight decrease in numbers in 2020-21. Norton attributed the dip to the pandemic and noted surrounding districts have experienced similar consequences.
Elementary schools took the largest hit, as enrollment is down 6.78% or 336 students from last year. Middle schools saw a smaller decrease of about 0.48%.
Yet, Lake Travis High School continues to grow, and Norton acknowledged parents' concerns on this issue. Despite the pandemic, LTHS increased to 3,583 students, reflecting a 5.35% change.
“We’re quickly getting to the point of capacity at Lake Travis High School,” Norton said, adding that the district is developing a plan to deal with growth.