5 Austin ISD coronavirus updates: Graduation ceremonies postponed, proms canceled, weekend meals to return and buses for WiFi access

Austin ISD has postponed spring graduation ceremonies until August. (Courtesy Pexels)
Austin ISD has postponed spring graduation ceremonies until August. (Courtesy Pexels)

Austin ISD has postponed spring graduation ceremonies until August. (Courtesy Pexels)

District cancels prom, postpones graduation ceremonies until August

Austin ISD has officially canceled all of this year’s proms and has postponed spring graduation ceremonies until August.

Graduation ceremonies for senior students previously scheduled for May 26-28 are now scheduled for Aug.10-13. Ceremonies will take place at the Frank Erwin Center except for the Rosedale school graduation, according to a post by the district April 14.

“We are disappointed that these important milestones cannot continue as scheduled, but we are hopeful that we can come together virtually in June and in-person in August to celebrate the successes of our seniors,” the district stated in the notice.

A schedule for August graduations can be found here.

Weekend food service to return

As a board work session April 13, the district announced it would again be reimbursed for weekend meal distribution in the district.

AISD had been serving meals seven days a week until April 3 due to funding and regulation changes by the Texas Department of Agriculture, which stopped reimbursing the district for weekend meals. According to the district, additional changes since have allowed weekend service to resume.

AISD is preparing and providing free meals to district students at more 15 school sites, while school buses are bringing meals that can be picked up to more than 50 additional locations across the district. A map of locations can be found here.

Meals are available to all children under the age of 19, as well as students over the age of 19 who are using special education resources in the district. Parents can also pick up meals for students, provided they have documentation that shows a child lives in or attends school in the district.

WiFi buses and technology have been deployed across AISD

The district began online distance learning on April 6, and on April 10 announced it will use a fleet of school buses to provide WiFi to areas across the district with limited internet access.

At a news conference April 10, AISD Chief Technology Officer Kevin Schwartz said each bus has a WiFi range of 150-300 feet, and the district could bring 6-10 buses to one community, providing access to a larger area. Ideally, he said students should be able to access the WiFi service from in their homes, but some may need to come closer to a bus depending on location.

Schwartz said his department’s priorities are making sure all families in the district have access to internet and technology, and that all students are safe and healthy. This district is distributing laptop computers to students who were not previously assigned one during the school year.

A map of bus locations as of April 10 can be found here.

AISD closes school facilities to the public

Although AISD had previously closed all campuses to classes indefinitely, due to the spread of coronavirus all facilities were closed to the public on April 9. The expanded closure includes district fields, tracks and other campus facilities.

District asks parent to update contact information

The district on April 15 encouraged families to update their Parent Cloud account contact information online or by phone to stay informed through district communications. To update the information by phone, parents should call their student’s campus. For families with limited or no internet access, district communications will be sent through the mail.