AISD cancels classes through April 3 due to COVID-19


AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin ISD announced it’s extending Spring Break an additional two weeks for students from March 23 through April 3, in light of recent developments concerning COVID-19.

In a letter to staff and parents, the district said now that the City of Austin has banned mass gatherings of more than 250 people through May 1, AISD’s schools and traditional educational model will be impacted. AISD will operate a “modified workweek” for employees after spring break to allow for planning time to transition to a “distance learning environment” for students and telework for staff where possible. The letter detailed that staff at AISD will receive more instructions from their immediate supervisors and encouraged staff to check email regularly.

During a news conference at 12 p.m. Monday, school board trustees and the superintendent each stood six feet apart around the room and addressed what the district is doing concerning COVID-19.

“We don’t know what will come within a few days or within a week,” said Superintendent Dr. Paul Cruz.

He made it clear the closure could last even longer.

“I can’t just make a split decision,” said Cruz. “I have to think about every youngster, every family and the impact that that means when we cancel classes.”

It’s currently spring break for the district, which started a day early after the City of Austin announced its first two positive tests for the coronavirus.

“We are in uncharted territory, but it is our responsibility to move in them and make decisions with the best interest of our families and their kids,” said Education Austin president Ken Zarifis.

The district has already suspended international and domestic travel for school groups, and they said they’ll still provide curbside lunches at locations around Austin.

The AISD school board also passed a resolution last week to ensure employees would still be paid as if it was business as usual.

Currently, there are six confirmed cases of coronavirus in Austin-Travis County.

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