Austin, TX Kids Have Virtual Classes Until September 8. Meanwhile, YMCA Offers Daycare In School Building Where Kids Can Do Their Work.

Although the Austin, Texas Independent School District (AISD) has declared that “all instruction will be virtual from Aug. 18–Sept. 7,” the YMCA of Austin has extended its summertime essential programming to children so they can work inside an Austin Independent School Building.

“After 20 weeks doing COVID-safe programming, we’ve gotten pretty used to all of the precautions. Kids have been very safe and we’ve had very few symptoms,” said Dr. Joan Altobelli, the Vice President of Licensed Childcare for the YMCA of Austin, according to KXAN.

“We’re in a small part of the building,” she added. “We know which rooms each children have been in every day. We know which adults have been with those children. If anybody comes up with a symptom in that classroom, we immediately close the classroom. We’re able to trace exactly which children, whose parents need to be notified.”

On July 20, Austin Mayor Steve Adler admitted, “You know, Dr. [Mark] Escott with Austin’s health authority here in the city has told people that the default is that it’s probably going to last longer than just to Sept. 8. Each of the school districts are supposed to submit plans to him and to the public so that they can be discussed over the next several weeks.”

“What Dr. Escott said is that the virus load is so high in our community right now that so many kids and so many teachers and staff would be showing up on the first day already infected. That’s why he put it off until September,” Adler continued. “That’s why the conversation is ongoing. They want to open schools. The best thing we can do, everybody needs to wear masks, show discipline and let’s drop the virus load in our city.”

Escott, the Interim Medical Director and Health Authority City of Austin/Travis County, issued a July 14 order that stated, “School systems shall not reopen schools for on-campus, face-to-face instruction until after September 7, 2020; as per a school system’s own plan … I believe this order includes appropriate control measures based on the higher risk for spread of COVID-19 in schools due to the necessity of large groups gathering in indoor spaces and the difficulty for children to follow social distancing and hygiene guidelines.”

“On July 17, the Texas Education Agency released new guidance, saying schools can stay online only for the first four weeks of school,” KVUE reported. “After that, schools can continue to limit access to on-campus classes for an additional four weeks, if needed, with a board-approved waiver request to the TEA.”

“There is lots of uncertainty right now about who will be face-to-face in our schools and at what point students will be back in classrooms with teachers. Austin ISD will follow health guidance from local, state and federal officials to make the best decisions to keep our students and families safe,” AISD stated.

Doug Stafford, a strategist for Kentucky GOP Senator Rand Paul, tweeted, “You can’t send your kids to school. But you can send your kids to this daycare that’s being held inside the school where they will help your kids do their virtual learning. What.”

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