AUSTIN, Texas - Austin ISD says it will be creating virtual options in the fall for kindergarten through sixth grade for the upcoming school year. The details on the virtual options that will be available will be released Friday, July 30.
AISD is also reassuring teachers that there will be no concurrent teaching this year. Teachers who teach virtually will only teach virtually, according to the Austin Independent School District.
Monday, AISD officials held a public meeting to hear their district's concerns and provide a plan for the upcoming semester. A mix of parents shared their concerns. "Parents, not AISD, are responsible for the health of their children. Parents should be able to choose if they ask their children if they will choose vaccination," said a parent.
"I do not feel comfortable sending my kids to school until she is vaccinated," said another parent.
AISD officials say they will not be mandating mask-wearing, but will strongly encourage it along with frequent hand washing and social distancing when possible.
As for virtual learning, AISD has decided it will offer that as an option for students in certain grades who are unable to get vaccinated.
"I'm really proud of our district for making the hard decision to offer virtual despite the lack of funding and despite how much it'll cost our school district, but I'm really excited that the district is making that move to protect its students and its families," said Bronwyn Merritt, an AISD parent, and elementary teacher.
Texas public school districts like AISD are funded by the Texas Education Agency based on the number of students who are enrolled in person. Depending on the number of students who choose to go virtual, AISD says the district could lose anywhere between $4.5-$45 million in state funding.