Austin ISD sees 70% drop in on-campus students over past 2 weeks after district asks families to stay home

Austin ISD reported its highest number of COVID-19 cases the week of Jan. 4, but that number has decreased for two consecutive weeks, according to the district. (Courtesy Austin ISD)
Austin ISD reported its highest number of COVID-19 cases the week of Jan. 4, but that number has decreased for two consecutive weeks, according to the district. (Courtesy Austin ISD)

Austin ISD reported its highest number of COVID-19 cases the week of Jan. 4, but that number has decreased for two consecutive weeks, according to the district. (Courtesy Austin ISD)

Austin ISD on Jan. 11 encouraged students to learn remotely for two weeks to help slow the spread of the coronavirus within the district and Travis County. Families responded, and the district saw a 11,839-student decline in on-campus learning as AISD families opted for online learning from Jan. 12-22.

“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.”
By Nicholas Cicale
Nick has been with Community Impact Newspaper since 2016, working with the Lake Travis-Westlake and Southwest Austin-Dripping Springs editions. He previously worked as a reporter in Minnesota and earned a degree from Florida State University.


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