“We've had two weeks now of declining COVID-19 cases [in Austin ISD],” Superintendent Stephanie Elizalde said at a board meeting Jan. 25. “We had an all-time high—exactly as was predicted—right following the winter break of 183 COVID-19 cases, which was reduced to 131 cases [Jan. 10] and down to 93 [Jan. 17]. We are now below the previous high of 96.”
During those two weeks, Elizalde said the Austin-Travis County area has seen COVID-19 cases decline for five consecutive days, hospitalizations decline for six consecutive days and intensive care unit beds with COVID-19 patients decline for nine consecutive days.
The district announced Jan. 21 that those students who wish to return to campus can do so beginning Jan. 25. An estimated 13,586 students were on campus Jan. 25, according to the district.
“[Dr. Mark Escott, Austin-Travis County interim health authority] is continuing to ask that if individuals can stay at home, that we continue to do that. But there is light on the horizon,” Elizalde said. “Because Austin ISD has such a low percentage of face-to-face students, he did think that it was OK for us to continue opening cautiously, as we have done.”