AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Austin Independent School District said it will excuse student absences related to pandemic concerns during the spring semester. The district put out the announcement Friday.

AISD said this way, families don’t need to worry about a student’s attendance being affected if they have to stay home due to COVID-19.

This new policy also applies if a parent decides to keep a student home when community transmission is high, because they have an immunocompromised family member. That absence will still be excused, according to the district announcement.

But, families need to communicate with their schools about the absences. Students can still get assignments or activities through BLEND to complete at home or make up the work/receive tutoring when they get back.

Austin ISD also addressed concerns about a state law requiring all students to attend in-person for at least 90% of the time, excused or unexcused, to earn course credit. The district explained the law does have an exemption, which allows AISD to waive the 90% requirement by holding “Attendance Committees,” which includes a parent and campus staff, for any student whose attendance is between 75-90%.  

Those students, along with their Attendance Committees, will make a plan to ensure they still get credit.

“We will not be keeping children from going to the next grade level because they had to stay out because of unusual circumstances at home,” said Superintendent Stephanie S. Elizalde in a statement. “We will work with the individual student to give them enough time to get caught up.”

The district said it’s working to keep campuses open and safe for students, including having a mask requirement.

“We’ve maintained our mask requirement throughout the pandemic, even as other school districts have relaxed mask mandates,” AISD said.

The district also reminds parents it offers COVID-19 testing at 11 sites, which are listed online along with their hours of operation.