This list was last updated July 29, 2021.
AUSTIN (KXAN) — As summer winds down for kids in Texas, many schools are planning out COVID-19 safety protocols, as children under the age of 12 are not eligible to get vaccinated yet.
Rising COVID-19 cases and new variants have spurred concerns of transmission to children, and as a result, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is encouraging unvaccinated children older than two years old to mask up.
The CDC is also recommending a physical distance of three feet between students in classrooms.
Here’s a running list of the current plans for some school districts in Central Texas. It is important to note these are subject to change.
On July 22, the Austin Independent School District announced it expects to host students in person when the school year starts. However, a virtual learning option for families of students in kindergarten through sixth grade will be offered this fall, the district said July 26.
Mask wearing will be strongly encouraged for both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals indoors. Buses will be operating at full capacity, and kids will re-enter to cafeteria to eat breakfast and lunch. Read more here.
District leaders will be presenting the main points to their back-to-school plan Tuesday, July 20 at a board meeting. The full plan will be posted the next day.
As of July 19, the Eanes Independent School District told KXAN it is planning to return to pre-pandemic operations, which means no virtual learning and no mask requirements. But students or staff can wear a mask if they want, and masks will be available for those who choose to.
To prevent the spread of COVID-19 in classrooms, Eanes ISD said it will continue cleaning and sanitizing. They will not be asking students, staff or visitors to show proof of vaccination.
The Georgetown Independent School District published a draft of its back-to-school plan Tuesday night. Parents will be able to share their feedback on it through Aug. 4.
The draft says the district plans to return to in-person learning. Masks will be optional for all students and staff members. Frequent cleaning and disinfection will continue in the 2021-22 school year, and mental health resources will be offered to students.
Students and staff with positive COVID-19 tests will be allowed to return to school after they have lasted for 24 hours without a fever and without medication, have improved symptoms and 10 days have passed since symptoms began. The draft says positive cases will be reported to staff and families with kids in the same classroom.
The Hays Consolidated Independent School District said it will finalize plans the first week of August. Leaders said they do plan to have everyone return to in-person learning, and masks will be encouraged but not required for those who are unvaccinated. Additionally, sanitization practices will continue.
The Hutto Independent School District is making masks optional for students, staff, family and visitors, according to its plan on its website. The district is also expecting all students and staff to do an at-home health screening before coming to campus. Hutto ISD officials also vow to notify individuals when they’ve been in close contact with a positive case, and quarantine protocols will also be sent out with that notification. A virtual learning option is not being offered at this time.
Visitors will be allowed on campus but will have to complete the Raptor COVID-19 Screener. Rapid tests will be available for students and staff on a voluntary basis as well.
For the fine arts, group practices will be socially distanced. Field trips, gatherings, events and guest speakers will be looked at and decided on on a case-by-case basis.
The Leander Independent School District is “highly recommending” that all students and staff wear masks when the upcoming school year begins.
Leander ISD has split its safety protocols into two categories: green and red. Based on COVID-19 data in the community and state, the district will adjust its protocols from green to red if cases are surging. Green represents looser restrictions — masks will be optional for staff and students. Under red protocols, masks will be recommended.
For physical distancing under green protocols, students will be able to move between classrooms and teachers. Under red protocols, three to six feet of distancing will be required between students and staff, cohorting will be implemented, all desks will face one direction and signs will designate where students will line up.
If a staff or student tests positive, they will have to isolate for 10 days starting from when symptoms occur, regardless of whether the district is under red or green protocols. They can return once not having a fever for 24 hours without medication, and other symptoms have subsided.
Under both green and red protocols, contact tracing will be done by the local health department.
The Pflugerville Independent School District released a full protocol plan for the 2021-22 school year on its website.
According to the plan, masks and face coverings will be determined by how active COVID-19 is within the community. District leaders will use state and local data to gauge this and dispatch the appropriate protective measures as needed.
Students and staff who have COVID-19-like symptoms or test positive for the virus will be required to isolate for 10 days, be fever-free for an entire day without medication and have their symptoms subside before coming back to campus. Students and staff who come into close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 will be asked to quarantine for two weeks. People who are vaccinated will not need to quarantine, the plan says.
Students will have a seating plan in the cafeteria to account for social distancing. Hand sanitizer and disinfecting products will be readily available in classrooms as well.
If needed, Pflugerville ISD will make the decision to shut down a campus based on guidance from the Texas Education Agency and state health department. The decision to quarantine a classroom or group of people due to positive tests will be made on a case-by-case basis, taking into consideration guidance from the CDC, TEA, Austin Public Health and the state health department, the plan says.
PfISD is moving forward with limited virtual learning for up to one year for kindergarten through 12th grade by using about $2.6 million in ESSER funds and local funding. Virtual learning will be provided by a third-party vendor rather than a PfISD teacher.
Families who completed a virtual learning academy application in May will get an email alerting them of their acceptance. You must confirm participation by 5 p.m. on Aug. 2, the district says. You can also complete applications online by the same date if you did not send in an application before:
- English: https://forms.gle/s8iQoidUCfqMWX4Q8
- Spanish: https://forms.gle/ZPcMi5zSUPkZ4tjy8
- Vietnamese: https://forms.gle/8hUBSGEMNdF9AyaB8
The district will notify families if they have been accepted or not by Aug. 6.
Round Rock ISD
The Round Rock Independent School District plans to release COVID-19 safety measures Thursday, July 29. The guidance will be emailed to parents and posted on the district’s website and social media. A virtual town hall will then take place Aug. 3 at 6 p.m. to go over the protocols.
RRISD announced July 22 it will offer a virtual option for kindergarten through sixth grade for the fall semester, to hopefully allow time for the vaccine to be approved for kids under 12 years old. More information on how to enroll in that virtual option will also be released July 29.