Austin ISD officially declared a state of disaster after meeting in executive session March 13 to respond and take future preventative measures related to the coronavirus.

According to a statement read by the board, the declaration authorizes Superintendent Paul Cruz to take mitigative actions when needed during the ongoing coronavirus situation in the Austin area.

The action gives Cruz “emergency authorization to act nimbly and effectively to address the ongoing emergency that affects [district] students and staff,” according to the district.

“We’re here to be able to be responsive to the needs and the conditions we’re facing right now regarding COVID-19,” Cruz said at the emergency board meeting. “We are asking the board for some additional flexibility in some of the board policies that govern some of the things we do every single day.”

At this time, spring break is still scheduled for March 16-20, and additional classes have not been canceled in AISD. However, the action by the board tonight does ensure that all district staff will continue to receive normal paychecks through at least March 30, even if class is suspended in the future, according to the board's statement.

Trustees said Cruz would provide further updates about the district’s schedule in the future.

Cruz thanked board members for their leadership and for taking care of district students, staff and families.