HUTTO, Texas (KXAN) — The Hutto Independent School District is being forced to close for three days next week as a result of hundreds of staff members being out, most of them with COVID-19.
The district will close all campus operations from Jan. 17 to 19, Superintendent Celina Estrada Thomas said in a letter to the school community. Students and staff are expected to return Thursday, Jan. 20.
Thomas said on Friday it had more than 200 employees out, with 160 confirmed COVID-19 cases. There were also more than 1,680 students out, with 545 confirmed cases.
“Our goal with closing for two days is to allow time for our staff and students to get healthy enough to return to teaching and learning,” Thomas said in the letter.
She also clarified remote learning isn’t an option for Hutto ISD right now. The time won’t count for instructional minutes or as an instructional workday for teachers if a campus or the whole district is closed due to staff shortages. Virtual classes are only available for students who are sick with COVID-19 or out for extended periods of time.
The district is asking parents to send their students to school with a mask and is encouraging staff to wear one, too. Vaccines are also recommended, with Hutto ISD hosting a COVID-19 vaccination clinic at Kerley Elementary School on Feb. 2 from 4 to 8 p.m.
Bus routes being modified
While high school UIL athletic events are expected to continue as normal (as long as coaches and students are healthy), transportation services will return with changes on Jan. 20, affecting “the majority of students.” Students affected by a modified route will be notified through Ride 360, the district said.
Hutto ISD said to expect delays or earlier pickup times, with delays more likely occurring with afternoon routes. Delays could be as long as 45 minutes to an hour. There will also be no bus service to the Disciplinary Alternative Education Program (DAEP) or River Horse Academy (RHA).
Parents can still choose to take their children to and from school, but the district asks parents to be patient since there could be traffic backups at its campuses.
Food services impacted
Menu options will be limited next week due to staff shortages in the cafeteria, the district said. Hutto ISD ensures all children will be fed, and there isn’t a lack of food — it’s just that all regular meal options might not be available.
District asks for volunteers
Hutto ISD said it welcomes volunteers who have completed its application online to help with coverage. Volunteers must screen for symptoms when they get to school and wear a mask. The district points to its volunteering page on its website if you need more information.