AUSTIN, Texas – Students in Austin will be learning remotely following the Thanksgiving holiday.
The Austin Independent School District made the announcement Wednesday night following a meeting with city and county officials and Austin Public Health.
Students will be 100% remote from November 30 to December 4 and can return to classrooms on December 7.
In a letter to parents, Superintendent Stephanie Elizalde said the decision was made as a way to increase the likelihood that on-campus learning can happen during the last two weeks of the semester.
“By moving to 100% remote learning the week following the Thanksgiving break, the incubation period will have the opportunity to run its course and positive cases can be identified while safely at home,” she wrote. “In addition, I do not anticipate the need to repeat this process following the winter break as that holiday is 14 days while the Thanksgiving break was only seven.”
Some schools may adjust their hours to accommodate the decision. The district says parents will receive more information from their individual schools soon.
Additionally, the district says they’re working with Austin Public Health to provide COVID-19 tests to staff, students, and their family members from December 2 to December 4. More information about how to get those tests will be released from AISD by Sunday.
“I realize that this decision will require many of our families to find alternate child care arrangements, but in assessing the risks, I concluded this was in the best interest of a long term vision,” wrote Elizalde. “I waited to make this decision to gather as much data and input as possible.
“It is never easy to close our school doors, even temporarily. However, with news on new therapies and vaccines on the horizon, we are optimistic that safer days are ahead.”