Central Texas school districts teach while preparing for coronavirus

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WILLIAMSON COUNTY, TEXAS (KXAN) — Schools across Austin along with neighboring school districts are taking protective measures amid the global coronavirus outbreak.

Austin Independent School District sent out a letter to all of its transportation and vehicle services employees Tuesday with ways it will protect its vehicles. AISD will take proactive measures by purchasing antimicrobial services to be used on all of its school buses, as well as maintenance and district police units.

AISD memo to Department of Transportation & Vehicle Services.

The treatment combines a variety of fogging, spraying and misting technologies to treat facilities. The district says they’ll be using the cleaning spray periodically.

“We value each and every one of our students and team members and are taking this extra step in an effort to maximize safety and cleanliness for all,” said Kris Hadezizadeh, AISD Transportation Director.

Meanwhile, at the Harmony Charter School in Austin, a sea of kindergarteners learned all about the virus that’s been floating around.

“Has anyone ever heard of the coronavirus?” said a Harmony fourth-grader. “Today, we’re going to do some activities with you. This is how it attacks the cell.”

Older students at the Harmony Charter school taught the class. The kindergartners learned, not just how to wash their hands, but the science behind the virus.

Harmony Charter School kindergarteners learn about the Coronavirus.

Meanwhile, local public schools outside of Austin are also taking additional measures. The Round Rock Independent School District is fogging campuses with Razor, the same anti-microbial coating AISD purchased.

“Out of an abundance of caution, Round Rock ISD is using the screening protocol developed by the Centers for Disease Control to help catch anything that may develop in regard to coronavirus,” said Maritza Gallaga, RRISD Communications. “All school nurses are currently using the process for students or staff who have traveled to China within the past 14 days or who report to the health room with fever.”

The district also says they’re using Quat, which is a hospital grade disinfectant for places like restrooms.

The Pflugerville Independent School District is also taking its own measures by using an EPA-registered germicide that it says is effective against the Coronavirus.

“Our custodial operations department is trained to change vacuum filters daily to insure the removal of airborne particulates (invisible particles that can act as carriers of pathogens),” said Tamra Spence, Pflugerville ISD Communications Officer. This cleaning function is critical to a healthy school environment.”

Leander Independent School District says it’s using a similar electrostatic spray to disinfect classrooms, in addition to other measures.

“The LISD Custodial Services Department recognizes the importance of working proactively in maintaining a healthy and safe environment for all students and staff, especially during flu season and the current situation with the Coronavirus,” said Matt Mitchell,Communications Coordinator. “We do so by having a close communication with the District Nurse for first-hand information on students’ health and any concern that will require our immediate attention.”

KXAN’s Kaitlyn Karmout asked each of the school districts if they’ve seen a downward trend in attendance. Each said, it hasn’t seen a decline in attendance due to any illness (flu) or concern for illness (COVID-19) at this time.

Coronavirus lesson at Austin Harmony School
Photo: Frank Martinez/KXAN

San Marcos CISD cancels trip to San Antonio

A Thursday field trip to the San Antonio Zoo was canceled for students in the San Marcos Consolidated Independent School District as a precaution.

A San Marcos CISD spokesperson said the reason for the cancellation was the announced state of emergency due to the coronavirus declared by San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg on Monday.

The spokesperson said the district will look into the possibility of rescheduling the field trips following the district’s spring break from March 16-20.

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