There is a lot happening these days in Austin Texas. Covid is surging among the unvaccinated and the young. And schools across the state are trying to plan a good way to handle it. Some districts have even stated they will ignore Gov. Greg Abbott’s recent banning of mask mandates. We know that many schools in Austin, Texas will not be implementing a sweeping mask mandate in the fall of 2021. However, it is expected that masks will be mandated on school-busses and highly recommended in classes for non-vaccinated students.
Many parents are worried that the speed and strength of this recent surge will continue or even worsen. Parents are aware that vaccination rates vary greatly throughout Texas — and even within Austin and the different neighborhoods and school districts that we have. Parents are also concerned about potential vaccination mandates for their kids. We have started seeing vaccination mandates in restaurants popping up in cities across the US. Some parents believe that vaccine mandates are going too far. In fact, the vast majority of families in Austin oppose a vaccine mandate. Many households, however, are more open to the idea of a mask mandate.
Certain school districts are offering the option of online on in-person education. We just know from experience that kids have lost so much ground this last year with COVID. Students in Austin Texas are way behind on mathematics. And this isn’t split evenly between school districts. Some districts, with more income, have done better. But the reality is is that almost everywhere students have struggled to learn math and reading online. Those skills seem hard for students to master over the internet. That’s one reason why we have seen students’ test scores in mathematics plummeting quickly.
What are some things that you can do as a parent to help your kid?
One of the things we recommend is considering an in-home math tutor in Austin. Our math tutors are based here locally and will drive out to your home. We will do whatever we can to create a safe level of comfort for you with regards to COVID. If this means wearing masks and having a tutor who is vaccinated, we will absolutely accommodate that. Many students have benefited from having an in-home mathematics tutor during COVID. It has helped some students improve their math and even catch-up with other students. Paradoxically, this great challenge for you and your family can be turned into a stepping stone to success. We can help your child improve at math and learn to love it. It will make class much easier for them to understand. Math no longer has to be stressful for them. We believe that students today have enough stress on their hands as it is!
An important thing you can do is check which Austin school districts are currently mandating masks.
Depending on the age of your child, you can consider if you’d like to take advantage of Austin’s virtual education offering. We’ve read that virtual school will be offered this fall for Austin students from kindergarten through 6th grade. The plan is for this virtual program to be made available for all Austin students within these grade levels. But you need to apply soon. A waitlist will likely form for students from outside the Austin districts.
As of now, we are hearing that Austin will require masks on busses. They won’t require masks in schools. But if you request it, they can ensure that your child wears a mask while she is at school. The Austin Independent School Districts (ISD) have also released general guidance for covid. They have a covid dashboard where you can view recent updates and also find the general guidance as a PDF file.
However, some sources indicate that Austin may in-fact require masks for students this fall. This is an article from Dr. Elizalde, who is the superintendent for the Austin Independent School District. So it sounds like the Austin ISD is going to be requiring masks this fall. We know that many parents are upset with this. They say it’s unfair to require all kids to wear masks.
This is certainly an ongoing issue and will depend on how COVID behaves. We will keep you all updated with more helpful blogs and articles as the year gets underway.