Need to Know: COVID-19 models and procedures
Even in the middle of a pandemic, AISD is committed to keeping the focus on student outcomes and achievement. In order for us to keep the focus on high student performance, we need to be prepared for a variety of possibilities. There will likely be a point in time when any one of our 127 schools may need to switch its instructional delivery model based on the health conditions at a particular school site.
Our preparations include being able to deliver distance and face-to-face learning, as well as a hybrid approach.
As we move toward reopening, we would like to share with you some procedures you can expect to see on campus:
- A no-touch temperature check and screening of students, by a staff member wearing personal protective equipment, will occur at designated spots before students can enter the school building. Screenings will take place in vehicles when possible.
- Each person who arrives without a mask will be provided one. However, due to a limited national supply, staff and students will be encouraged to bring their own.
- Student capacity in the classroom will be limited. Staff and student capacity will not exceed 25% of the classroom space. Depending on the specific class size and the ability to safely distance, this will average six to eight students per room.
- Meals will be offered in the classroom. This is to ensure safety for students and staff and is in line with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Texas Education Agency recommendations.
- A staff member or student will need to meet the CDC criteria for returning if they are displaying symptoms, presumed positive or have received a confirmed positive COVID-19 test.
- A staff member or student will need to quarantine for 14 days if they have had direct exposure to someone that is displaying symptoms and/or is presumed or confirmed positive for COVID-19.
- Additionally, every student and staff member that has had direct contact with the affected student/staff member in the last seven days will also need to quarantine for 14 days. This includes, but is not limited to, the students and staff in a class, on a bus route and in group extracurricular activities.
- The need to shut down an entire campus, the school’s food service operations or an entire extracurricular activity for a period of time will depend on the level of contact, isolation of groups and guidance from health authorities.
Also, we understand the need for families to have options as we reopen, and are working to have at-home learning platforms available as well.
Other procedures have and will be developed, and we will soon be sharing more. We hope this begins to paint the picture of the framework we have been focused on to assure student and staff safety. Please know we have been working nonstop to consider safety measures, teaching models and multiple scenarios that will impact our students, families and staff members.
Need to Know: Where we get our information
As Austin ISD examines its options for reopening, we are looking to federal, state, and local authorities for guidance and directives. Health authorities include the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of State Health Services, Travis County Health & Human Services, and Austin Public Health.
Families should know we are also regularly engaging with intergovernmental partners, including the City of Austin, Travis County, Austin Community College, and the University of Texas. These organizations have experts such as UT Professor of Integrative Biology, Dr. Lauren Ancel Meyers, to gain epidemiological insight on the impact of reopening for the district.
Furthermore, Austin ISD looks to the Texas Education Agency for guidance on instruction on reopening in fall 2020. Interested parents can find TEA resources and instructions for districts on the agency’s useful COVID-19 page. Relevant TEA documents resources include:
- Summer instruction, activities and school visit guidance.
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Update.
- General support and guidance.
Good to Know: 2020 Texas Young Master
Every other year the Texas Commission on the Arts and the Texas Cultural Trust names a few exemplary student artists in 8th-11th grades as Texas Young Masters. This year, Austin ISD violin student Keshav Srinivasan was named one of only 15 students across Texas to receive this esteemed title. Young artists from 11 Texas cities received the honor, which includes a grant to pursue advanced study in their artistic discipline.
Srinivasan is the only Austin student to receive the 2020 award. He is a rising junior at the Liberal Arts and Science Academy, who came to AISD in the 6th grade at Kealing Middle School. He is a member of the orchestra under the direction of music teacher Mrs. Luzvic Backstrom. Keshav has been playing the violin for 11 years along with his twin sister, Kavya. Together, they have created K2KStrings.org, a student-led program to provide free virtual music lessons. When asked about K2KStrings.org, he said: “I know how much music has helped me through this COVID crisis. It’s a really great service to the musical community in Austin.”
To learn more about arts advocacy and the Young Masters program, visit www.txculturaltrust.org.
Get in the Know: Reopening Conversation Circles Preliminary Feedback Report
Thank you to the 1,600 individuals who participated in our June 8-15 conversation circles dedicated to engaging about reopening. Staff members created a preliminary report detailing what we heard from the community, and it is available at www.austinisd.org/covid19/communications/reopening in English and Spanish. A more comprehensive report is forthcoming.
Feedback heard from all stakeholders includes:
- AISD should survey the community to learn the percentage of staff and families who are comfortable returning.
- The district needs to replicate virtual learning success so that all schools are offering the same high-caliber instruction.
- AISD should provide training before school starts for parents, families, staff and students.
The preliminary report also summarizes feedback shared by specific groups such as parents and families, students, teachers and staff, and those with a special education focus.
Click to Know:
AISD in 3 is Austin ISD’s exclusive, three-minute current events newscast. View the latest episode for the week of June 8.
Educa Austin is AISD's Spanish-language TV program that airs on Facebook Live and AISD.TV. The program is geared toward families of the more than 20,000 AISD students who speak Spanish at home.
AISD.TV won the 2020 Hometown Media Award for overall excellence in educational access for the third time.
Race Talks is a new monthly collaboration between the AISD Race Equity Council and the Austin Council of PTAs focused on race in our community. The first conversation will be held from 9-10:30 a.m. on Friday, June 19.
AISD will hold graduation walks June 23-25.