WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Texas - School districts are in close contact with Austin Public Health and their own health departments. The COVID-19 case count has led some health officials, such as those in Williamson County to reconsider in-person instruction.
Manor ISD said administrators at Bluebonnet Trail Elementary and Presidential Meadows Elementary School were notified of two staff members testing positive for COVID-19. Because of this, Bluebonnet will move to 100 percent remote learning, while students at Presidential Meadows can continue in-person learning.
Bluebonnet students and staff cannot return until Nov. 30. This announcement comes as districts across Central Texas deal with COVID-19 on their campuses.
Leander ISD has had more than 100 confirmed cases and more than 1,800 exposures to the virus. Matt Mitchell with the district said Leander ISD is split down the middle, with some students returning to campus, others staying remote.
“We've been able to communicate well with the community, make sure they understand the options available to them, and let them make the choice for what's best for their student. We know children learn better when they are in school, that is just a fact,” said Mitchell. "But we are also thankful for our families who decided to keep their students virtual so we can keep phasing those students and create a safe learning environment on those campuses."
Williamson County just moved to orange on their COVID-19 risk chart, just one below the highest, red. Mitchell said as of now there are no plans to close.
“We talk with them every day. The district has been committed from the beginning of this pandemic, to consulting with our local health agencies. We've been able to communicate well with the community, make sure they understand the options available to them, and let them make the choice for what's best for their student,” he said.
The lead epidemiologist in Williamson County said the decisions on remote learning are up to the districts.
“Our gating phases do not control what they are legally allowed to do. That is controlled by the TEA and governor's orders, so we just make recommendations. We would prefer in the orange level, if it were allowable, they would do 100 percent virtual learning,” said Allison Stewart, lead epidemiologist at Williamson County Cities and Health District.
Blanco ISD has decided to go back 100 percent remote through Nov. 20. Fredericksburg Middle School also said they will go remote and return on Nov.19.