Update: Lake Travis ISD Superintendent Paul Norton sent a letter to staff and parents Aug. 12 stating that the district will retain its "mask optional" policy despite a Travis County order requiring the wearing of masks at all Travis County public schools.
Lake Travis ISD Superintendent Paul Norton announced Aug. 6 the district will provide a temporary virtual learning option in the fall of the 2021-22 school year, according to a letter sent to parents and guardians.
Norton’s letter arrived on the heels of the Austin Public Health announcement that due to a recent surge in coronavirus cases, Austin-Travis County’s coronavirus risk has been upgraded to Stage 5—the highest level of community risk outlined by the public health agency.
While LTISD previously announced a plan to return to 100% in-person instruction, an alternative remote option will be available for select students.
The virtual program is available for kindergarten through sixth-grade students and will have a maximum enrollment of 250 children. Those who enroll must commit to the entire fall semester and will not be permitted to return to campus until January 2022, per the letter. Students engaging in virtual instruction will also require parent supervision and will not have access to on-campus programs such as band, athletics and theater, Norton wrote. The instruction will be provided through both teacher-led and independent learning models.
Interested families can submit a time-stamped application per student until noon Aug. 11. If approved, virtual students will begin the upcoming school year Aug. 23 following LTISD’ official first day of school Aug. 18.
Those who prefer in-person instruction will not need to take any action, Norton wrote. Though LTISD cannot mandate face masks on campus, per Gov. Greg Abbott’s order, Norton said the district will encourage the practice per recommendations from local and national health authorities.
“While we recognize and respect the personal choice, we also strongly encourage all staff, students and families to wear a mask while inside and on campus,” Norton wrote.
At this time, the district is solely committed to providing a remote option during the fall semester. According to Norton’s letter, the program will be re-evaluated and potentially extended as needed.
Additional information can be found on LTISD’s response to COVID-19 webpage, which Norton said will be updated as new information becomes available.