A week before, the district announced on July 22 that a virtual learning option would be provided for students in kindergarten through sixth grade. Community Impact Newspaper previously reported the district cited COVID-19 vaccine availability and Williamson County's recent increase in reported cases. In the July 29 update shared with district parents, the district stated parents will be able to transfer their students into the virtual learning program until Aug. 9 at 11:59 p.m. The form must be completed and submitted by that time because the virtual learning start date is set for Aug. 18, the first day of school for both virtual and in-person students.
Starting Aug. 10, parents can start requesting that their child be transferred into virtual learning from their home campus. Virtual learning will be conducted by RRISD teachers. The district is encouraging families to stay connected to their home campuses by subscribing to campus newsletters and remaining involved in the Parent Teacher Association for their campus as well as campus social media pages.
Vaccines are not yet available to students under the age of 12, the district stated in a July 22 press release. The district also stated it would release COVID-19 safety guidelines for the coming semester July 29, followed by a virtual town hall to discuss safety protocols.
"We understand concerns due to the fact that children under 12 are not yet eligible to receive the vaccine and recognize that some families prefer at-home learning as the pandemic continues," the press release from July 22 reads. "District leaders support the idea of continuing to provide a virtual option—particularly for students who may need it due to health concerns or who aren’t eligible for vaccinations—and were disappointed when the Texas Legislature did not pass a bill to fund virtual learning for the upcoming school year."
Virtual learning is being provided despite a lack of state funding, according to the release. It is unclear how much the district will spend to provide it. However, at previous school board meetings, Chief Financial Officer Kenneth Adix stated the district would lose roughly $8,000 per year, or $4,000 a semester in attendance-based funding for each student who opted for virtual learning.
"We are all ready for a return to traditional activities and in-person learning," the press release states. "Please help us do so safely by getting vaccinated, if you can, to reverse the current trend and get back on a path to a post-pandemic world. As news about COVID-19 vaccines for children under 12 becomes available, Round Rock ISD will continue to share information and opportunities to help families obtain vaccinations."