AUSTIN, Texas — On Friday night, the Austin ISD Board of Trustees held an emergency meeting over the district's response to the coronavirus.
Following an executive session, the board announced it will change the rules to make sure staff gets paid if schools need to be shut down for longer. The board approved a resolution that would give the superintendent emergency authorization to address the ongoing situation affecting students and staff.
According to the district, the resolution addresses the superintendent's authority to:
- Make purchases outside the normal contract and procurement requirements to ensure schools remain safe and clean and to make necessary technology purchases to provide ongoing learning
- Compensate employees who may be affected by the suspension of classes
- Apply for waivers regarding instructional minutes and low attendance with the Texas Education Agency
"During these times it is important that we act responsibly and swiftly to attend to the needs of our students, staff and families," AISD Superintendent Paul Cruz said. "I thank the board for taking this action for the wellbeing of our community."
At this point, students are set to return to class on March 23 after a week-long spring break. Board members also said they are looking at the possibility of extending spring break.
As of now, Manor ISD and Taylor ISD are the only local school districts to announce any plans to extend spring break.
The announcement follows three people in Travis County testing "presumptively positive" for the coronavirus.
Many Texas universities and schools, including Texas State University and the University of Texas at Austin, decided to extend their spring breaks by one week as concerns have grown.
Many universities have also made the decision to move in-person courses online following the student's return from spring break.
On Friday, Gov. Greg Abbott issued a statewide declaration of a public health disaster and President Donald Trump declared the coronavirus a national emergency.
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