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Austin ISD considers delaying first day of school, extending virtual classes

The Austin Independent School Board is considering pushing back the first day of school to Sept. 8 and applying for eight weeks of virtual-only classes, citing "local health conditions" and the fact that COVID-19 disproportionately affects Hispanics, who represent a third of teachers and more than half of the district's students.


The moves will be voted on in a special meeting called for 9 p.m. Thursday night. The meeting, which will be held virtually, will include a public comment portion at 9:35 p.m. The vote will happen after the public comments.

The meeting agenda cites the following local health conditions:

  • High COVID-19 numbers in Travis County (averaging 367 new cases per day in July 2020)
  • Current Austin Public Health Risk Guidance places Austin, Travis County in Stage 4
  • 3-4 people of 1000 are estimated to be infected with a current multiplier of 3
  • COVID-19 disproportionately impacts the Hispanic population in the Austin-Travis County area. Some 34 percent of the Austin population is Hispanic, while 57 percent of hospitalizations are among Hispanic patients. Thirty-two percent of AISD staff and 56 percent of students identify as Hispanic, according to agenda documents.

"This delay will allow for our community to adjust to the latest in-person requirements in the changing health conditions of our city with safety at the forefront of every decision," reads the agenda item on the vote.

In addition, AISD will limit in-person attendance for the first four weeks of school as already planned but vote Thursday on whether to ask the state for a waiver to allow an additional four weeks, delaying full access to on-campus instruction through early November.

Students without access to technology will still be allowed in-person instruction, as per state guidelines, but full access by all students would be delayed if the board approves the action and the state allows it.

"In the event a board extends the initial four-week transition, at least some on campus instruction must be provided each day during the extended transition period," the agenda reads.

On Monday, Education Austin, the union representing 3,000 AISD employees, asked the district to consider pushing back the official first day of school, which Gov. Greg Abbott said was within the rights of local districts, not health officials.

AISD posted this document with frequently asked questions, updated July 30, about attendance, enrollment, class size and more during the upcoming school year.

Click here to find out more and learn how to participate in the public comment portion of the meeting.

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The long-awaited day is here; Austin FC takes the field with LAFC. (Austonia)

It's matchday! Austin FC—Austin's first major league sport team—kicks off its debut season in Los Angeles today after years in the making. We know how much this means to our beloved city and are taking you along with us as we journey to LA!

Austin FC writer Claire Partain and I are excited to bring you game-day coverage straight from the City of Angels. Check back here for updates, and visit our socials: @austonianews for the latest.

5 p.m: Kickoff!

It's finally here! Claire will be updating Austonia's Twitter account live. And we'll post her game recap after the game. Best of luck Verdes!

4:40 p.m: Excitement radiates back home

Watch parties are in plenty supply back home. Austonia's Laura Figi visited Circle Brewing Co. and found a crowd of excited supporters.

4:20 p.m: Austin FC supporters are in the stadium

Although the Banc of California Stadium is hosting the match at limited capacity, we see some green in the stands ahead of kickoff. Just moments away from the Austin FC's debut!

~3:20 p.m: Austin FC's team bus enters the stadium grounds

With a warm welcome from Los Verdes, Austin FC players were welcomed into the Banc of California Stadium.

~1 p.m: Los Verdes in LA

(Rigo Rodriguez/Los Verdes)

Austin FC supporters are making their presence known in LA, including the Los Verdes group.

Los Verdes members started having match-day fun around the area this morning with brunch. We'll be joining them about an hour before the game outside the stadium to share some of their excitement. We'll post immediately to Austonia's Instagram.

11:45 a.m: We landed!

View from hotel room where we're staying; the stadium digital sign can be seen in the right corner. (Sonia Garcia/Austonia)

Switching over to pacific time, we're here and it's almost like no time went by. It's 9:45 a.m. here.

We've been in contact with Los Verdes, an Austin FC supporter group, who is also here in LA counting down to kickoff.

8:20 a.m: LA bound

Like many of you, we've been looking forward to this moment for, let's just say, a very long time. Today, we woke up bright and early, headed to Austin-Bergstrom International Airport and hopped on a flight to LA.

A gloomy day in Austin with a very quiet airport, we're headed to sunny skies in California.

As we wait for the game to start at 4:30 p.m., check out Claire's preview of the game with a predicted lineup and timeline of the long journey to get here.