“As we monitor the situation throughout Austin-Travis County, we are evaluating the option of temporarily transitioning to remote-only instruction for the week following Thanksgiving Break: Nov. 30-Dec. 4,” she said in the letter. “We will keep you informed and release a message no later than Wednesday, Nov. 25 that includes a firm decision.”
Elizalde asked parents and staff to ensure students take their devices and needed materials home with them before the holiday break so students can be prepared for virtual learning Nov. 30, if needed.
The announcement comes one day after the Austin-Travis County area moved into Stage 4 of Austin Public Health’s risk-based guidelines due to increased COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations locally. The city and county had been under Stage 3 restrictions since Aug. 25.
"We can see that a surge is happening across Texas," said Dr. Mark Escott, the Austin-Travis County interim health authority, on Nov. 19. "The challenge is that a surge like [El Paso's] in Austin would require us to have more than 600 [intensive care unit] beds and more than 2,400 hospital beds just to care for the people in our jurisdiction. We don't have that many beds."
Earlier this week AISD closed Austin High School to in-person learning for three days as a precaution due to increased COVID-19 cases at the campus. Elizalde said Nov. 16 that the district does not have evidence of internal transmission of the coronavirus on campus. Austin High reopened Nov. 19.
Austin ISD will be closed for Thanksgiving Nov. 23-27.