Round Rock ISD canceled classes Feb. 22-23 following a week of unprecedented winter storms that left "significant water damage" in campus buildings. Both campuses and RRISD offices will remain close Feb. 22-23, with neither in-person or virtual classes to occur.
RRISD officials cited "more than 70 incidents of storm-related damage" at campuses and district facilities in a Feb. 20 news release. Causes for the cancellation included RRISD campus and facility damages, students and staff lacking food, water and stable internet access as well as a lack of food and water at RRISD schools.
More information will be provided in the coming days regarding when virtual classes will reconvene and when in-person students can return to campuses. The closures are authorized by a Texas Education Agency waiver and will not affect the 2020-21 academic calendar.
Some extracurricular activities scheduled to occur Feb. 22-23 may continue with location changes. Curbside meal services will resume on Monday, Feb. 22, from noon-1:30 p.m., per the release.
"Thank you again for your resilience, flexibility and strength as we face these challenges together," Dr. Daniel Presley, acting superintendent of schools for RRISD, said in the release. "Now more than ever, I am proud to be a member of the Round Rock ISD family. Thank you for your continued support of our district and each other."
ORIGINAL: Round Rock ISD is considering whether campus operations are possible the week of Feb. 22 following the aftermath of this week's Texas winter storms. Several campuses have been impacted by water damage and remain without power, and the district has reported "crucial shortages" in food services resources, per a Feb. 19 announcement.
The district will decide by the evening of Feb. 20 whether campus operations will be viable next week. A special called meeting for the RRISD board of trustees called for Feb. 20 has been canceled, per the board's agenda packet.
"We have the option of applying for a waiver to move to 100% virtual instruction either for the entire district or certain campuses or to cancel school completely," said Jenny LaCoste-Caputo, chief of public affairs and communications at RRISD. "That decision has not been made yet until we spend more time assessing damage and other factors that may impact learning next week, either in-person or virtual."
LaCoste-Caputo said approximately a half dozen campuses experienced "significant water damage," with crews currently working on repairments. As of late Feb. 19, the campuses with substantial damage to at least portions of the campus included England Elementary School, Deepwood Elementary School, Great Oaks Elementary School, Chisholm Trail Middle School, Deerpark Middle School and Round Rock High School.
In addition to water damage and outages at RRISD campuses, the announcement also addressed district families and staff members struggling with their own lack of water, heat, power and internet access following the week's storms.
"This past week has been one like no other in Round Rock and Austin," the announcement read. "The winter storm brought hardship to many families and we are all still dealing with its impact. While conditions are certainly improving, we know many of our families and staff members may still be without power, internet or water service, or could be struggling to replenish their food supply."
RRISD officials expect to receive a waiver from the Texas Education Agency if campus operations are not possible next week, per the announcement. If a waiver were granted, RRISD would not have to add bad weather makeup days to the district's academic calendar.
Regarding student assignments and grading, the district noted students will have additional time added to assignments originally due this week or next week, with no assignment due dates or tests scheduled earlier than Feb. 25.
"Throughout this unpredictable, challenging school year, our community, staff members, students and parents have risen to the occasion time and again," the release read. "You have demonstrated flexibility, grace and strength, and we appreciate your support and teamwork more than ever as we face these challenges together. Please be patient as we work through the weekend to make the best decisions possible for our students."
Editor's note: This article was updated with additional information regarding further clarification on the waiver and which RRISD campuses experienced "significant damage" as a result of this week's storms.