AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Austin Independent School District is gearing up for a major challenge. It wants to connect with all 80,000 students enrolled in the district during 1-minute Zoom meetings.
The purpose is to check on the students’ mental health during virtual learning in a COVID-19 pandemic, according to Shakira Hamilton-Adams, the district’s Interim Administrative Supervisor of counseling, crisis and mental health.
“They are handling the situation separated from their friends, not able to reach out, be with their friends and have conversations,” Hamilton-Adams said. “So we’re providing an opportunity for them to reach out to an adult or to someone on the campus who connects with them.”
Hamilton-Adams oversees 230 school counselors but says this initiative is a district-wide effort.
“It’s not just the counseling department — it’s all the people that speak and talk to and reach out to have conversations with families and students,” she said, adding that can be a designated person on campus.
Each campus is asking students a set of vetted questions that focus on mental health, Hamilton-Adams said.
“It’s not like ‘How are you doing academically?’ No, it’s, ‘How are you ? How are you doing? What do you need? Can we help, or how can we support you?'”
There is no deadline to reach all of AISD’s 80,000 students. The district said it’s an ongoing effort.