Austin ISD students have returned to the classroom for the first time since the pandemic closed down schools in March. The in-person classes, which some teachers fought against, are being taught according to a hybrid model that blends 25% on-campus capacity with virtual learning.
Here's a look at what school looked like on Tuesday of the first week.
Longtime school principal Katie Achtermann checks in students for the second day of in-person classes at Barton Hills Elementary in South Austin. All students temperatures are checked on arrival, and face coverings are required to enter the building.
Under the careful watch of first grade teacher Nicole Miller, and with plenty of PPE ready, in-person learning takes off during the second day of classes at Campbell Elementary. The AISD school is using a combination of remote and in-person learning amid the pandemic.
In-person learning is optional for AISD families. The district is phasing in students to on-campus learning, starting with the youngest grades at each school.
Kindergarten classes have yet to lose any of their spunk as most kids are glad to be back in the classroom.
Seasoned teacher Clarissa Hobbs is back in the classroom to teach her students. AISD experienced a drop in enrollment as parents opted out of in-person school, possibly opting into learning pods, homeschooling or private school.
Student Amarin Mervin follows Ms. Hobbs' instructions to show his work to his classmates on screen. It's a learning experience that's new for everyone.
- Austin IAS considers 'blended learning' this fall - austonia ›
- Hundreds of Austin ISD teachers reportedly pledge to not attend in ... ›
- Austin ISD should delay school or risk 40-1,000 deaths - austonia ›
- Austin ISD enrollment decline may lead to layoffs amid COVID ... ›
- Austin ISD considers delaying first day of school - austonia ›
- Austin, Texas students failing school with at-home learning - austonia ›
- Austin ISD prepares to expand in-person learning to all students - austonia ›
- AISD considers temporary remote learning amid holiday surge - austonia ›
- Austin ISD goes fully in-person for 2021-22 school year - austonia ›
- Austin private schools see continued COVID enrollment bump - austonia ›
- 'Legal tug of war': Here's how Austin-area schools continue to push back on Abbott's masking ban - austonia ›
Republic Square Park has turned into a Ford-themed fiesta for its Built to Connect pop-up experience, complete with test drives, off-roading and an inside look at the Tesla-rivaling electric vehicles that the motor vehicle company is planning to integrate over the next decade.
The outdoor driving event is free, open to the public and will stay in the park from now until Oct. 24, offering rides on Bronco Mountain, a 0-40 mph zip in the 2022 all-electric Ford F-150 Lightning and a chance to win an original Ford Bronco.
The event kicked off with a panel of speakers, including Austin Director of Transportation Rob Spillar, Ford General Manager Darren Palmer and engineering specialists discussing Ford's goals to make it so that 50% of the vehicles on the road are electric by 2030.
As an eco-conscious city, Spillar said that around 4,000 vehicles, or 22% of the Texas electric vehicle market, as well as over 15,000 plugins lie in Austin, meaning driving electric just got accessible.
"Austin, as you know, is a fast-growing modern city that is committed to protecting the long term health and viability of our communities and strategies that reduce greenhouse gases, mitigate the effects of climate change and improve the drone quality of life here in Central Texas for all of our residents," Spillar said.
And Ford's electric vehicles are putting up some steep competition for newly-Austin-based company Tesla. The new electric Mustang Mach-E and F-150 Lighting offer amenities that used to be exclusive to Musk's brand, such as the BlueCruise self-driving network. The cars also boast a 300-mile range on a single charge, assisted reverse technology and access to the biggest charging network outside of the home.
Plus, Ford's got affordability on its side. The F-150 Lightning starts at $39,974 and the Mustang Mach-E starts at $42,895, while the cheapest Tesla model, the Model 3, starts at $41,990 and averages 262 miles on a single charge.
Speaking of price, the numbers on the electric vehicles may look like a little more than you'd like to pay for your transport, but Palmer promises it will pay off. In addition to a $7,500 tax credit you can earn for your sustainability, you'll never have to buy a pricey tank of gas again.
"Personally, I have not found one customer ever, who would go back to gas so that says something," Palmer said. "I realized, at $51,000, that car outruns every childhood hero car I ever had."
Texas buyers: take note. The Ford Lightning can power your house for three to 10 days, just in case the statewide power grid fails. You can take it glamping with you, so you don't have to leave the comfort of modern life behind, and in a pinch, Palmer said he's even seen a wedding party powered by the truck.
Ford is investing $30 billion into the U.S. market to meet demand by 2025 and the new electric truck already has over 150,000 reservations.
"I think they're going to take off much faster than you expect—they're going to be extremely, extremely popular next year," Palmer said. "With the incentives that are available today, this is starting to become more mainstream and viable for more and more families. We couldn't have done that before, we didn't have the technology, or the technology at that price."
The event is ongoing through next weekend from 12-9 p.m. Monday-Friday and 9 a.m.- 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
- Tesla driven by drunk teen bursts into flames in Tarrytown crash ... ›
- This Austin startup is bringing electric powersports vehicles to town ›
- Austin ranks in top cities for electric vehicles - austonia ›
- Enthusiasm soars in Austin's Tesla community as new factory is built ... ›
- Nissan LEAF, Teslas are Austin's most popular electric cars - austonia ›
The Austin Police Department is searching for a man who is believed to be behind a series of robberies that is "sexual in nature and is escalating."
Three robbery cases that took place in North Austin within a 30-day period are being investigated by police, who report the victims all had similar descriptions for suspects in the case. The suspect is described as a 20-25-year-old Spanish-speaking Hispanic man, approximately 5'3, thin build, recently shaved with black hair. Police say he is known to typically wear athletic clothing and used a knife on each of the victims.
Here's a breakdown of the cases:
1. At 7:56 a.m. on Sept. 22 at the 1600 block of Rutland Drive, a woman was walking alone and returning from her child's school when a suspect walking by inappropriately touched her. The suspect then grabbed her by the arm, threatened her with a knife and demanded "her property."
2. At 8:10 a.m. on Oct. 11 at 1700 block of Colony Creek Drive, a woman was walking to her child's school when a man approached her with a knife and then demanded her personal items. The suspect then said he would return the items in return for sex.
3. At 11:03 a.m. on Oct. 13 at the 9300 block of Northgate Boulevard, a woman was with her child in the laundry room of an apartment complex when a man walked in performing a sexual act. The suspect demanded personal items from the victim, threatening to hurt the victim and take her child.
Police cautioned the public to walk without earbuds, stay alert and report suspicious activity to the police.
- Austin has 53 percent more homicides in first seven months ... ›
- APD reports increase in violent crime amid defunding push - austonia ›
- Austin ranks more dangerous than Dallas, Houston and Fort Worth ... ›
- Austin police: Violent crime uptick could be 'here to stay' - austonia ›
- Here's how crime stacks up in Austin's party districts - austonia ›