Back to school and COVID-19
By Destiny Frias
Austin Independent School District students have transitioned back to in-person learning this school year in the midst of stage 5 of COVID: the worst the pandemic has been in Austin thus far.
There are five distinct stages of risk for COVID-19, Stage 1 being the lowest threat and Stage 5 being the most threatening.
According to the Austin ISD COVID-19 Dashboard, AISD has had 1,208 total positive cases and 7,014 total exposures of students alone. These numbers include students, employees and others (contractors, community members, etc.)
AISD made this difficult decision to transition students from hybrid learning back to in-person learning this 2021–2022 school year so that the district did not lose funding. This is after almost two years of virtual learning.
The transition has been anxiety-inducing for many students, staff and faculty, including art teacher Christina Coro, who says she feels worried at times.
“It is daunting. On one hand, I am so happy to be back with the kids and enjoy seeing them, but on the other hand it just makes me worry because maybe not everybody’s vaccinated,” said Coro. “And, you know, I have a kid at home, and I’m afraid sometimes I might be asymptomatic and take it home to her. There’s definitely some tension — not tension but, you know, that just unknowing in the air.”
Crockett High School by itself has had 21 positive cases and 126 exposures since the start of school.
“Being back at school has been kind of scary because you never know who might have COVID, but it’s great to be able to spend time with my friends again,” said freshman Christopher Peña.
Crockett High School has enforced many rules and regulations regarding COVID to ensure the safety of students, staff and faculty.
“It’s honestly a little bit nerve-racking, and a lot of people don’t actually like follow along with the like mask mandate,” said junior Kellie Tomb
- Masks are required on campus, on school buses and at district facilities.
- Students have assigned seats in the classroom, cafeteria and on school buses for contact tracing purposes.
- Windows must be open on school buses (weather permitted.)
- Each classroom is equipped with a HEPA filtration system, a type of mechanical air filter that capture over 99.5% of particle pollution.
According to AISD, a student or staff member that tests positive for COVID-19 will have to isolate for 10–14 days. In addition, an unvaccinated student or staff member that has been within six feet of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 will have to quarantine for up to 10 days.
A vaccinated person that has come into contact with someone who has tested positive will not be required to quarantine.
Schools must notify their local health department if a student tests positive for COVID-19.
For more information and to stay up to date on COVID-19 cases and exposures, visit the Austin ISD COVID-19 Dashboard.