Year in review: The 10 most-read Northwest Austin education stories in 2020

Round Rock ISD commencement
Round Rock ISD's commencement walks were held at the Kelly Reeves Athletic Complex from May 18-23. (Courtesy Round Rock ISD)

Round Rock ISD's commencement walks were held at the Kelly Reeves Athletic Complex from May 18-23. (Courtesy Round Rock ISD)

Shortly after the coronavirus pandemic forced local school districts to reevaluate year-end plans following the annual spring break, the news cycle became dominated by the arduous process of returning children, faculty and staff to classrooms. Community Impact Newspaper readers kept up with news on how children would learn remotely, and what decisions district leaders were making to keep students safe.

Here are the top ten most-read education stories in Northwest Austin in 2020.

1. Round Rock, Pflugerville, Hutto ISDs announce extended school closures

Area school districts announced extended school closures March 16 in response to recent health updates concerning coronavirus. Read the full story here.

2. TEA: Districts must offer some in-person classes for 2020-21 school year

After Gov. Greg Abbott told state lawmakers June 18 that students would return to Texas public schools in the fall, guidelines released by the Texas Education Agency on June 23 fell in line with the governor's comments, mandating school districts offer some form of on-campus instruction during the 2020-21 school year. Read the full story here.

3. Around 900 Round Rock ISD students could be rezoned this fall

Approximately 915 students in Round Rock ISD could attend a different campus starting in the 2020-21 school year if the board of trustees approves preliminary attendance zone adjustments as proposed. Read the full story here.

4. Austin ISD planning for blended teaching approach for school year beginning Aug. 18

Austin ISD Superintendent Paul Cruz said during a board presentation June 1 that the district is working toward a blended approach for classes for the 2020-21 school year. Read the full story here.

5. Round Rock ISD launches e-learning, postpones Round Rock High School, Westwood proms

Round Rock ISD launched the Home Learning Hub on March 22 for use in at-home learning during extended school closures amid concerns about COVID-19. Read the full story here.

6. 'I’ve cried almost every day': Inside Round Rock ISD's return to in-person learning

Sixteen-year-old Madison Talkington said she loves school—or, at least, she used to. A junior at Cedar Ridge High School in Round Rock ISD, Talkington is a varsity-level water polo player with a 4.0 grade point average. But this semester, she said, she is barely treading water. Read the full story here.

7. Austin ISD trustees approve calendar for 2020-21 school year

Austin ISD students will officially return to class for the 2020-21 school year Aug. 18, and that school year will end May 26, 2021. Read the full story here.

8. Round Rock ISD schools now closed through April 13; district weighs possibility of closing through end of academic year

Round Rock ISD Superintendent Steve Flores announced the district will extend school and office closures until April 13 in response to coronavirus-related concerns. Read the full story here.

9. Round Rock ISD class of 2020 seniors to receive May in-person commencement walk

Round Rock ISD's class of 2020 seniors will get the opportunity to walk across the stage in an in-person commencement ceremony, the district announced. Read the full story here.

10. The path to closure: How Round Rock ISD decides to close a school due to COVID-19

With the closure of Stony Point High School until Dec. 1, students are now at home learning virtually, but many Round Rock ISD parents have been left wondering if more campuses could close. Read the full story here.
By Iain Oldman
Iain Oldman joined Community Impact Newspaper in 2017 after spending two years in Pittsburgh, Pa., where he covered Pittsburgh City Council. His byline has appeared in PublicSource, WESA-FM and Scranton-Times Tribune. Iain worked as the reporter for Community Impact Newspaper's flagship Round Rock/Pflugerville/Hutto edition and is now working as the editor for the Northwest Austin edition.