Round Rock ISD on track to open campuses in mid-September

One week into an all-virtual start to the 2020-21 academic year, Round Rock ISD is on track to reopen campuses in mid-September for students who elect in-person learning. (Community Impact staff)
One week into an all-virtual start to the 2020-21 academic year, Round Rock ISD is on track to reopen campuses in mid-September for students who elect in-person learning. (Community Impact staff)

One week into an all-virtual start to the 2020-21 academic year, Round Rock ISD is on track to reopen campuses in mid-September for students who elect in-person learning. (Community Impact staff)

One week into an all-virtual start to the 2020-21 academic year, Round Rock ISD is on track to reopen campuses in mid-September for students who elect in-person learning.

During an Aug. 27 presentation to the board of trustees, staff outlined a four-phased approach to reopening school campuses in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

“All summer, we’ve been working on a thorough, multi-faceted safety plan in alignment with CDC recommendations to keep our students and staff as safe as possible when they return,” Superintendent Steve Flores said. “In all of this we know we must remain flexible, recognizing the potential of needing to return to an all-virtual environment if transmission rates spike once again.”

The reopening plan as presented Aug. 27 is as follows:

Phase 1 (underway)


• Began Aug. 20

• All students enrolled in virtual learning

• All teachers teach virtually

Phase 2

• Anticipated to begin Sept. 10

• Students in self-contained special education settings return to campus

• All other students remain in virtual learning

Phase 3

• Anticipated to begin Sept. 15

• Students who opt for on-campus learning return (approximately 30%, according to the district’s Parent Choice Survey)

• All other students remain in virtual learning (approximately 70%, according to the district’s Parent Choice Survey)

Phase 4

• Date is TBD

• Student mobility throughout campuses increases

• All students who opt for virtual learning may remain remote

Moving from phase to phase is contingent on current health conditions, Flores said. If coronavirus cases spike, the district may return to an all-virtual environment.

Monitoring infections

RRISD straddles Williamson and Travis counties. Currently, health guidance varies between the two jurisdictions. In Williamson County, the recommendation as of Aug. 27 is for districts to remain in all-virtual learning. However, Travis County health officials on Aug. 25 moved from Stage 4 restrictions, which recommend a 25% capacity cap to Stage 3, which suggest a 50% limit.

Moving forward, staff said testing positivity rate, incidence rate and a two-week trend in new infections will drive decisions about in-person learning options.

“At this point though, we are cautiously optimistic and excited to move forward on a path that leads us back to campus,” Flores said. “We are together in spirit if not in person yet.”
By Taylor Jackson Buchanan
Taylor Buchanan joined Community Impact Newspaper in 2018 after completing a master of journalism degree from the University of Texas. She worked as the senior reporter for Community Impact's Southwest Austin edition and is now the editor for the company's flagship Round Rock/Pflugerville/Hutto edition.


MOST RECENT

Snow covers I-45 in Houston during a winter storm that hit Texas the night of Feb. 14. (Shawn Arrajj/Community Impact Newspaper)
Legislators probe energy officials over power failures, lack of preparation heading into winter storm

The Texas Legislature held hearings Feb. 25 with energy companies including Oncor Electric Delivery and the Electric Reliability Council of Texas in response to last week’s historic winter storm, which left millions of Texans without electricity for days.

As many as 31 stores across nine states will be shuttered as Fry's Electronics shuts down due to market changes and the pandemic. (Courtesy Qygen, Wikimedia Commons)
Fry's Electronics calls it quits after nearly 36 years in business

As many as 31 stores across nine states will be shuttered as Fry's Electronics shuts down due to market changes and the pandemic.

A lone runner jogs on a snow-covered road in Austin. Transportation projects across the city were briefly paused due to Winter Storm Uri. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
ERCOT: Texas power system was less than 5 minutes from collapse during winter storm

ERCOT's CEO offered details into what led to the massive blackouts that left millions of Texans in the cold last week.

cars on snowy road
Texas Disaster Declaration opens door to federal aid for losses sustained during winter storms

Individuals and businesses who sustained losses during the winter storm are eligible for federal assistance, according to a Texas Disaster Declaration approved

ERCOT president and chief executive Bill Magness (left) was joined by the electric grid manager's senior director of system operations Dan Woodfin on Feb. 19 for a briefing on the company's emergency operations. (Screenshot via ERCOT livestream)
ERCOT chief: 'We are completely back to normal operations' as of Feb. 19

Officials with the Texas electric grid manager also said they are preparing for state and federal reviews of this week's power outages.

H-E-B stores across Texas have limited store hours and placed purchase limits on some high-demand products due to ongoing severe winter weather, H-E-B officials announced Feb. 19. (Courtesy H-E-B)
H-E-B, Central Market limit store hours, product purchases due to severe winter weather

H-E-B stores across Texas have limited store hours and placed purchase limits on some high-demand products due to ongoing severe winter weather, H-E-B officials announced Feb. 19.

Gov. Greg Abbott provided updates on the state's emergency response efforts during a Feb. 18 press conference. (Screenshot of April 17 press conference)
Gov. Greg Abbott: Power restored to nearly 2M homes in past day; statewide aid efforts continuing

While power generation has been restored to serve most Texas residents, Abbott said state agencies remain focused on water and food distribution Feb. 18.

Although tens of thousands of megawatts remain off the statewide power grid Feb. 17, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said relief is on the way for many Texans within the next 24 hours. (Hannah Zedaker/Community Impact Newspaper)
Gov. Abbott: Power restoration on the way for 1M households in next 24 hours

Although tens of thousands of megawatts remain off the statewide power grid Feb. 17, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said relief is on the way for many Texans within the next 24 hours.

Severe winter weather conditions led to outages throughout the Texas electric system this week. (Iain Oldman/Community Impact Newspaper)
'Something that you could have planned for': How isolated Texas power grid, winter weather left millions without electricity

As of Feb. 17, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas said it was still working to restore electric service to customers throughout the state.

An Austin Fire Department truck drives down Manor Road on Feb. 15. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
Texans urged to use caution as carbon monoxide cases increase during power outages

Carbon monoxide poisoning calls have increased as people look for ways to stay warm without power and heat.

Many in Texas are battling power outages amid frigid temperatures. (Courtesy Rico Daniels)
Gov. Greg Abbott calls for investigation of ERCOT, Texas' electric reliability council

As of 1:20 p.m., over 4 million customers were out of power, according to ERCOT.

graph showing power demand out pacing grid capacity
Texas enters second day of blackouts

Although outages were initially intended to last for less than one hour, local grid operators are reporting longer outages.