AUSTIN, Texas — As schools across Texas grapple with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's statement that students should return to school come fall 2020, Austin's school district is dealing with hundreds of staff members who are being asked to quarantine due to confirmed cases of coronavirus among staff members.
Less than 15 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 have been reported among Austin Independent School District employees, according to a spokesperson for AISD. As a result, around 575 staff members have been asked to quarantine, and 11 school sites have been forced to close. Three of those sites are still closed, while the others have reopened.
The following facilities have been closed so far, according to a spokesperson for AISD:
- Ann Richards (still closed)
- Baranoff (still closed)
- Cowan (still closed)
- Saegert Terminal
- Southeast Terminal
- St. Elmo
KVUE is working to confirm the positions of the employees with confirmed cases of the virus.
The Texas Education Agency has released new guidelines for attendance, remote learning and personal protective equipment. The TEA won't require districts to make educators or students wear masks or do temperature checks, but the agency will provide equipment.
Custodial teams with Austin ISD are attempting to deep clean all campuses in order to open for the fall. These plans include custodial teams working together for up to three weeks to complete campus preparations, the district representative said.
A spokesperson for AISD said the district is closing buildings if a custodian working on-site exhibits symptoms of COVID-19.
If that happens, the entire team quarantines for 14 days and the building closes for three days, according to the district. On the fourth day, a crew deep cleans the building, and it is reopened on the fifth day after a housekeeping supervisor inspects the facility.
According to the district's policy, all team members are asked to quarantine when a staff member on a team tests positive for coronavirus. Staff members are also asked to quarantine if they have been in direct contact with someone who is presumed or confirmed positive or is experiencing symptoms.
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