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Austin ISD COVID-19 clinic draws many, leads to long waiting lines on Saturday

Students and Austin ISD community members waited in long lines Saturday morning to get a shot or booster.

AUSTIN, Texas — Students and Austin ISD community members stood in long lines Saturday, waiting to get a COVID-19 shot at the school district's vaccination clinic at the AISD Performing Arts Center. 

Lines reportedly wrapped around the center as students and community members five and older could get a shot while those 12 and older could get a shot or booster, if they qualified.

The vaccine clinic was hosted Saturday morning by Dell Children's Medical Center and Ascension Seton. 

The clinic was held as the district returned to in-person classes on Jan. 5 with a drop in attendance from both teachers and students. Just yesterday, on Friday, Jan. 7, the district shared data indicating that about 1 in 5 students missed school Friday, compared to 1 in 6 on the same day in 2021.

AISD's attendance rate hovered in the 80% range for the entire three days classes were in session this past week from Jan. 5 to Jan. 7. 

Classes began without a virtual option in the new semester, just a day after Austin-Travis County health leaders said the area was over the threshold for Stage 5 of its COVID-19 risk-based guidelines. Health leaders officially moved to Stage 5 on Jan. 6. 

RELATED: COVID-19 in Austin: City moves from Stage 4 to Stage 5

KVUE spoke with AISD Superintendent Dr. Stephanie Elizalde on Jan. 4 about the new semester and how it would keep students safe. When asked what the district was doing to keep students and staff safe with the increase in cases, Elizalde said testing and health protocols from the fall semester, like using air purifiers in classrooms and large areas, were still in place. 

The school district is still requiring masks for students, staff and visitors on AISD campuses and recommended that students wear the N95 or KN95 mask or use two surgical masks. AISD also updated its isolation guidelines to reflect the CDC's latest guidance, saying those who test positive for the virus need to isolate five days rather than 10 and have "markedly improved symptoms" and be fever-free for 24 hours to return. 

The next vaccine clinic held at the performing arts center by the school district will be on Jan. 29 at the PAC. An appointment is not needed to get vaccinated. For a full list of vaccination clinics held by AISD, visit the district's website

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