Central Texas schools experiencing disruptions because of COVID-19

Central Texas schools are experiencing disruptions because of COVID-19.

Burnet CISD schools closed Tuesday and Wednesday because of COVID-19. The district reported nearly 100 active student cases Tuesday and more than 20 among staff.

"Oh, it's tough. We just got the notification yesterday that the schools, all of them, were going to be closing -- and I'm now scrambling to figure out what I'm gonna do with my kids and how I need to adjust my schedule for work," said Kelly Duncan, a Burnet CISD parent.

Duncan’s 9-year-old daughter is in 5th grade at R J Richey and her 5-year-old son just started kindergarten at Shady Grove. She also has an 18-month-old. She says she would like a mask requirement to be implemented "at least" for children who are too young to get vaccinated.

"Because obviously, we know by now when everyone is masked there's a lot less spread," she explained.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott barred school districts from imposing mask mandates -- though some are fighting his order.

"There's a lot of working parents who are now going to have to take days off of work because the schools are closed," said Duncan. She added, "I feel like if Governor Abbott had left it up to the school districts to choose whether they needed masks, or how they were going to enforce masks, we would be in a lot better situation right now."

Wednesday, Lago Vista High School will make a temporary shift to online learning. 

Students will return to campus Monday. Extracurriculars are also suspended. In a statement. the district said "Lago Vista ISD is seeing an elevated number of positive student and staff cases of COVID-19 on the high school campus. The District is also experiencing a limited number of available substitute teachers across the District and is unable to ensure adequate classroom coverage in the coming days."

A Lockhart ISD spokesperson said more than 600 students and 30 staff members were in quarantine Tuesday. There were more than 160 active cases in the district.

To keep COVID-19 transmission down, Austin ISD is investing about a million dollars of COVID-19 relief funds into outdoor learning spaces.

Anne Muller, Austin ISD outdoor learning specialist explained, "We’re working on getting tables and shade and water bottle filling stations to the campuses that need them. We’ve assessed which campuses are serving meals outside and what percentage of those students are eating outside."

Muller said the district is set to supply schools with approximately 1,700 picnic tables. Campuses are prioritized based on COVID-19 hotspot zip codes and Title I status. The district’s service center is currently building tables for top-priority schools. 

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