A recent uptick in respiratory illnesses, including the flu, RSV, or respiratory syncytial virus, and COVID-19, has led to an increase in student and staff absences in Lake Travis ISD, according to a recent letter from the district.

The student attendance rate at some campuses dropped below 90% throughout January—a percentage that is usually in the mid- to upper-90s, said Marco Alvarado, LTISD executive director of communications and community relations.

The district has seen a rise in respiratory illnesses since December, which is typical during this time of the year, he said.

What you need to know

On Jan. 30, the district shared a letter from Lead Nurse Becca Harkleroad detailing the district’s response and measures for community members to take in preventing the spread of respiratory illnesses.

The district is taking the following steps, according to the letter:
  • School nurses are monitoring student and staff illness, and sending home those who are ill.
  • Teachers are reviewing proper hand-washing and cough etiquette with their students.
  • Custodians are cleaning facilities and classrooms each day, including frequently-touched surfaces, such as windows, desks, whiteboards, tables, doorknobs, chairs, locker rooms, and sinks and faucets.
  • Transportation staff are disinfecting school bus seats each morning and afternoon.
The district is asking families to watch for signs of illness and practice healthy habits by:
  • Avoiding close contact with those who are sick
  • Staying home when sick
  • Covering their mouth and nose with a tissue while coughing or sneezing
  • Washing hands often
  • Avoiding sharing personal items, such as food, drinks or unwashed utensils
  • Avoiding touching their nose, eyes or mouth
Learn more

Community members can learn about how to prevent respiratory illnesses by visiting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

LTISD families are encouraged to bring questions or concerns to their pharmacy, health care provider, Austin Public Health or school nurse, according to the letter.