Updated: April 3, 5:03 p.m.
Austin ISD has closed all 129 of its school campuses indefinitely to fight the ongoing coronavirus outbreak in Travis County. The action extends the district's school closures, which the district had earlier this week said would last through at least May 4.
According to an April 3 message by Superintendent Paul Cruz, the decision was made out of caution and a necessity to protect the health and safety of district students and staff.
Continued online, virtual and take-home learning opportunities are still being offered by the district, and teacher will begin lessons next week, according to an April 2 message.
According to Cruz, AISD also plans to distribute technology to about 51,000 students to help facilitate online learning.
Updated: April 2, 9:25 p.m.
In a message to Austin ISD families April 2, Superintendent Paul Cruz said the district is scheduled to start phasing in continuous at-home learning beginning April 6.
According to the post, teachers will conduct mandatory lessons through printed materials, online communications and other platforms.
“Continuous learning is the next step in our plan to keep educating our Pre-K through 12th-grade students,” Cruz wrote in the message. “Our continuous learning plan uses various ways for us to continue to prepare our students for their return to campus with increased teacher interaction, direction, and feedback.”
Details about grading are still being determined. Cruz wrote that the district is working to approve a revised grade policy to adjust for the new lessons and lack of in-person classes through April, as campuses are closed due to coronavirus concerns.
“Continuous Learning is important so our students can be prepared to return when campuses reopen,” Cruz wrote. “Continuous Learning also provides opportunities for teachers to help students during these uncertain times with social-emotional learning and support.”
According to the district, State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness tests have been canceled by the state for the current school year, and requirements have been waived. For Advanced Placement students, modified versions of the tests for college credits will be taken at home.
The district also announced in a news release April 2 that it would not be providing free meals on weekends beginning April 3 due to a policy change by the Texas Department of Agriculture. Distribution of meals will continue Monday through Friday.
“Austin ISD Food Services will continue to prepare and provide meals [on weekdays] for children under the age of 19 and their parents or caregivers at more than 70 locations while school is closed due to COVID-19 precautions,” the release states.
Additional details about AISD meals can be found on the district’s website here.
Original post: April 1, 2:09 p.m.
Austin ISD announced March 31 that its school campuses would continue to be closed until at least May 4 following Gov. Greg Abbott’s order that all schools in the state stay closed through that date.
“Please know we are being proactive in our plans regarding the possibility that campuses may need to be closed for the remainder of the school year,” the district stated in the announcement.
According to the district, AISD staff members are still working through the specifics of services typically provided by the district and how at-home learning will take place during the closures.
In an email, AISD spokesperson Cristina Nguyen stated that district teachers have been reaching out to families this week about expectations and processes for when at-home “continuous learning” starts April 6. Districtwide communication is expected to come on mandatory coursework and learning opportunities, she said.
The district also has a home learning webpage that can be accessed here for more information and online resources.