Dear Austin ISD Family,
Early this morning, the Austin ISD Board of Trustees approved a revised school calendar which reflects students’ first day as September 8.
From the beginning of this pandemic, our goal has been to ensure health and safety for our students, staff and families so as not to contribute to the spread of COVID-19. During the last few months our team at Austin ISD have been working to prepare to kick off the 2020-21 school year in a remote setting. This model had previously been approved for funding by the Texas Education Agency and was in line with local health guidance. Recently, guidance has changed and AISD is now required to offer in-person instruction in order to receive necessary support and funding for closure beyond the first 8 weeks of the school year.
A delayed start recognizes that the directive from local health experts is a more informed approach to protecting the health of our Austin community as a whole while still operating within TEA guidelines for funding. Among our teachers and campus support staff, a delayed start allows them to strengthen relationships with families and further build expertise with teaching and learning online.
The calendar begins with four weeks of remote learning and an opportunity for on-campus instruction during the first four weeks for students who do not have access to reliable technology or internet connectivity. Pending approval from the TEA, there will be an additional four weeks that will serve as a period where students who selected on-campus instruction may return to on-campus learning in phased-in smaller groups. These plans are subject to change based on the guidance of local, state and federal health authorities and the TEA.
We will continue to remain agile as guidance may shift, and we commit to communicating with you as we receive more information. Further updates will be posted in the coming days and weeks at www.austinisd.org/covid19.
We are hopeful that this delay will protect the health of our Austin community and better support strong instruction and equitable access.
Paul Cruz, Ph.D.