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Austin ISD will strongly encourage masking when the school year starts on Aug. 17, but the district is prohibited from mandating it. (Bob Daemmrich)

With Austin-Travis County in Stage 4 and local COVID case counts rising, parents of young children are weighing the question: Is it safe to send kids back to the classroom?

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Del Valle graduates could help fill the employee parking lot at Giga Texas, shown above, with the new program that aims at getting them a job at the electric vehicle maker. (@peterdog15/Tesla Owners of Austin)

Located only three miles from the $1.1 billion Tesla Gigafactory now under construction in southeast Travis County, Del Valle High School graduates are the logical choice to fill the 5,000 jobs to be created by the endeavor.

A recent partnership between the Del Valle school district and Tesla has sparked an untraditional path for students to find employment while meeting the needs of the electric car maker.

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Truman Householder, age 15, began the 2020-21 school year remotely before switching to in-person instruction. (Mica Gutierrez)

With many Central Texas parents hitting an academic fork in the road this past year—choosing between in-person or remote learning—experts say the results of those decisions may not be revealed until the fall semester starts.

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(Amna Ijaz/The Texas Tribune)

As fall progresses, Texas public school superintendents are realizing that virtual instruction simply is not working for thousands of students across the state.

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