Bastrop ISD announces back-to-school plan as COVID-19 numbers rise in Austin area

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File photo of a pencil in a Texas classroom. (Nexstar File Photo)

BASTROP, Texas (KXAN)–Bastrop ISD is one of the first districts in the Austin area to lay out how it plans on safely returning all of its students in just a few weeks. 

It announced highlights of its plan in a school board meeting on Tuesday.

Lisa Rangle–a district parent–is on the fence about whether she’ll send her 5th grader back to school, or home school him

“I’ve been waiting to see what the school decides, so that way I can decide what I’m going to do,” Rangel said. “I’m a little bit overwhelmed, I want everyone to be safe–including the teachers.”

It’s COVID-19 cases on the rise in Central Texas, and nationwide, that makes Rangel nervous.

“I’m worried that there’s going to be a lot of kids getting sick,” Rangel said.

Dr. Kristi Lee, Associate Superintendent of Communications & Community Relations said the back-to-school plan was made considering local and state law, board policies, and more.

“Conditions continue to evolve, and are ever-changing,” Lee said.

Lee said they’re asking parents to screen kids daily before stepping foot on a school bus.

“Our students will have an assigned seating chart, that makes it helpful for contact tracing especially,” Lee said.

Lee admits social distancing won’t always  be possible, but says they’ll allow outdoor eating, or even eating in classrooms, and will keep track of who goes where by monitoring hallway traffic patterns.

“Our classrooms and restrooms and other areas on the campus will be cleaned each day,” Lee said. “Especially those high-touch surfaces will be disinfected.”

Something new–Bastrop ISD won’t require fully-vaccinated students and staff to quarantine for 14 days if they’re exposed to someone who tested positive as long as they aren’t showing symptoms. However, Leee said they will maintain the COVID-19 dashboard.

“There’s only so much they can do, and there’s just no way,” Rangel said.

Rangel still isn’t sure if she’ll send her kid back, but hopes this school year is better for everyone.

Bastrop ISD said masks won’t be required because of Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s Executive Order, but it is encouraging everyone 12 and older to get vaccinated. 

The district said it will also start allowing select visitors on campus, and resume field trips.

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