Round Rock ISD students petition district to tighten COVID-19 protocols, threaten walkout

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More than a thousand students are calling on Round Rock ISD to enforce tighter COVID-19 protocols or offer a virtual learning option, citing the local rise in COVID-19 cases and staff shortages. (Courtesy Unsplash)

More than a thousand students are calling on Round Rock ISD to enforce tighter COVID-19 protocols or offer a virtual learning option, citing the local rise in COVID-19 cases and staff shortages. (Courtesy Unsplash)

More than 1,000 students are calling on Round Rock ISD to enforce tighter COVID-19 protocols or offer a virtual learning option, citing the local rise in COVID-19 cases and staff shortages.

A petition demanding the enforcement of stronger COVID-19 protocols such as enforced masking, providing KN95 and N95 masks to students, biweekly PCR and rapid testing, testing sites at each high school in the district and giving all students outdoor spaces to eat in all weather has garnered 1,179 signatures as of 1 p.m. Jan. 14. If these demands are not met by Jan. 20, the petition states students will walk out of school on that day at 10 a.m.


"We understand the students' concerns but we are doing everything within our power to mitigate the spread and deal with this current challenge," said Jenny LaCoste-Caputo, RRISD public affairs and communication chief, in an interview with Community Impact Newspaper. "Keeping our schools open is critical for many in our community who depend on resources provided by schools on a daily basis."

Senate Bill 15, the bill that allowed Texas school districts to offer virtual learning and receive average daily attendance funding for virtual students, is in effect until Sept. 1, 2023. The bill does not require any district to offer a virtual learning option. In November, RRISD announced that all students would return to in-person learning for the spring semester.

As of Jan. 13, 579 teachers, nurses and librarians were absent in RRISD, with 217 positions filled by substitutes.
By Brooke Sjoberg
Brooke Sjoberg is the Round Rock reporter for the Round Rock and Pflugerville/Hutto editions of Community Impact Newspaper. She worked for The Gonzales Inquirer, The Daily Texan and The Daily Dot among other publications before coming to Community Impact. Brooke is from Seguin, TX and graduated from The University of Texas at Austin in 2020. Her last name is pronounced Show-burg.