Days into the spring semester, Austin school districts are struggling with low attendance from students and teachers as the omicron variant sweeps through the city.
Austin ISD reported 384 substitute requests and just under 84% attendance on Wednesday, the first day of the spring semester. This time last year, the same district saw 293 substitute requests and a little more than 94% attendance.
With 75,000 kids enrolled at AISD, a 16% absence would have been 12,000 students. AISD was able to fill 220 of its substitute requests and has contingency plans in place in case of high teacher absences, which officials say includes deploying staff from the central office.
The district secured an agreement with employee union Education Austin to bring in teachers when a campus is unable to find a sub.
Meanwhile in Leander ISD, where classes resumed on Tuesday, 242 staff members were out due to COVID and 136 substitute teachers were needed in the first two days. The district has 40,000 students and 5,600 employees.
The district has been struggling with filling substitutes since the pandemic began and can normally fill about half the positions, according to district spokesman Matt Mitchell.
LISD is currently operating under its yellow protocols, which recommend but do not require mask-wearing. In the red stage, masks are required indoors.
Lake Travis ISD is struggling to keep up with school transportation due to a bus driver shortage.
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Arch Manning, the latest prospect in the Manning football family and No. 1 recruit in the class of 2023, has committed to the University of Texas.
Manning is the nephew of Eli and Peyton Manning and the son of Cooper Manning, a former wide receiver for Ole Miss. The Manning football legacy began with Archie Manning, Arch Manning's grandfather and namesake who played for the New Orleans Saints throughout the 1970s.
Committed to the University of Texas. #HookEmpic.twitter.com/jHYbjBaF5K
— Arch Manning (@ArchManning) June 23, 2022
Manning joins head Texas football coach Steve Sarkisian's program after a disappointing 5-7 first season. Manning, who has been the starting quarterback at New Orlean's Newman High School since he was a freshman, was the No. 1 recruit in the 2023 class, according to 247sports.
Manning had plenty of SEC suitors, including Georgia, Alabama and LSU, but committed to Texas after a recent visit to Austin.
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The Lone Star Fugitive Task Force has found the Jeep belonging to Kaitlin Armstrong, the accused murderer of professional cyclist Moriah “Mo” Wilson.
Armstrong is suspected to have killed Wilson—who was visiting Austin for a race in Hico, Texas last month—in a crime of passion after Wilson met up with her short-term ex-boyfriend Colin Strickland.
The Task Force said the black Jeep Cherokee was sold to a South Austin CarMax dealership on May 13, one day after being questioned by the Austin Police Department, for $12,200.
Armstrong was spotted at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport the next day, en route to LaGuardia Airport, but officials said they lost her trail after she was dropped off at Newark Liberty International Airport on May 18.
Investigators were unable to find any flight reservations under the name “Kaitlin Armstrong” and believe she may be using her sister’s name, Christine.
The case has been designated as a U.S. Marshals Service major case, which brings in more resources to the investigation; officials consider Armstrong dangerous. According to an anonymous tipster, Armstrong became “furious,” when she found out about Wilson and Strickland’s meeting and wanted to “kill” her.
Authorities believe the longer Armstrong is evading arrest, the more dangerous she may become, so anyone who sees her is encouraged to call 911 instead of approaching her. A $6,000 reward, along with an additional $15,000 from an anonymous donor, has been issued for information leading to her capture.