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Austin ISD to continue with original phase-in plan after discussing other options

Those other options included possibly allowing students to change classrooms throughout the day.

AUSTIN, Texas — After some internal conversations about "shifting course regarding the physical return to campus," Austin ISD's superintendent told parents Wednesday night that the district will be sticking with its original phase-in plan.

Those conversations included possibly allowing students to change classrooms throughout the day, according to an email from Superintendent Stephanie Elizalde.

"When we have had the opportunity to assess our effectiveness at limiting the spread of COVID-19 on-campus, we will revisit the possibility of allowing students to change classrooms throughout the day. This approach will allow us to confirm safety protocols are working before taking further steps toward in-person school as we know it," the superintendent wrote.

Elizalde also discussed the decision during a Thursday morning press conference.

"We have determined that right now just isn't the time to adjust those plans. Therefore, we will be beginning on-campus instruction Oct. 5 in our original plans in phased-in on-campus instruction," she said.

Campuses will be welcoming back some students at 25% capacity beginning Monday, Oct. 5, before possibly increasing capacity to 50% beginning Monday, Oct. 19. Parents will still have the option to keep their students enrolled in virtual learning until Oct. 30.

During that time, AISD and Austin Public Health leaders will continue to monitor Austin and Travis County's positivity rate, the number of recent cases and hospital admissions, the number of people in ICUs and the number of people on ventilators. 

Should an outbreak occur, Elizalde said, the district "would immediately return to 100% remote, wherever that would make the most sense."

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