AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin-Travis County’s move to Stage 5 of its COVID-19 risk-based guidelines Thursday comes the same week many school districts are returning to class.
With the local spike in COVID-19 cases, KXAN checked in with local districts to see how school staffing and student attendance were impacted this week. Many districts replied they had absences but couldn’t contribute the cause to the virus.
Classes resumed for the Austin Independent School District on Wednesday, Jan. 5. District officials said for that first day back, they got 384 requests for substitute teachers, and for Thursday, it received 293 substitute requests. We’re working to learn if the district was able to fill those requests.
Student attendance for Wednesday was down more than 10 percentage points when compared to this time last year, from 94.39% in 2021 to 83.93% for the first day back after winter break in 2022.
This comes after testing on Monday and Tuesday in the district community yielded a 14.5% positivity rate. The district said a total of 2,639 students, staff and family members were tested over the two days, and 384 tests came back positive.
The Eanes Independent School District said it had 87 absences among teachers and support staff “for various reasons.” The district didn’t say how many of those absences were specifically teachers and if they were related to COVID-19 or not. Eanes ISD has about 617 teachers employed in the district total.
The Georgetown Independent School District told KXAN it has about 967 teachers total employed with the school system. A spokesperson said 94 teachers were out Thursday but “for a variety of reasons” not necessarily related to COVID-19.
The district’s COVID-19 dashboard shows nine staff members tested positive for the virus so far this week.
The first day back for the Hays Consolidated Independent District was Tuesday, Jan. 4. A district spokesperson told KXAN 17 out of 3,200 employees called out sick Wednesday for COVID-19-related issues. The district said there may be other people out sick, but these are the ones confirmed to be COVID-19 related.
Lake Travis ISD
The Lake Travis Independent School District said it employs 700 teachers districtwide. Right now, the district has thirteen staff members who are out with COVID-19, but it said there’s no way of knowing how many of those are teachers or other support staff at this time.
KXAN will add to this story as we receive additional responses from local school districts.