News from Austin, Travis County & Austin ISD
CITY HIGHLIGHTS University of Texas In an April 7 letter to The University of Texas community, President Gregory Fenves announced he will be leaving June 30 to become the president at Emory University in Atlanta. Fenves said he made the decision earlier in the year, and the timing of the announcement in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic is not what he “expected or wanted.” UT will hold virtual graduation ceremonies in May and postponed its in-person commencement to an as-yet unconrmed date. Austin ISD On April 7, Austin ISD announced a “pass or incomplete” grading policy for spring semester classes rather than the traditional A-F grading scale. AISD Superintendent Paul Cruz said the district will not calculate grade point averages based on spring semester performance because of inconsistencies in technology access for students at home. Austin The city has leased three hotels to serve as isolation centers for homeless individuals and other coronavirus patients. The locations are the Crowne Plaza hotel and Motel 6 in North Austin and the La Quinta Inn in South Austin. All three hotels are located along I-35 frontage roads. On April 12, the three hotels accepted all 187 clients from Austin’s downtown Salvation Army homeless shelter after 12 people staying in the shelter tested positive for coronavirus. Austin City Council* Meets May 7 and 21, 10 a.m. 301 W. Second St., Austin www.austintexas.gov/department/ city-council Travis County Commissioners Court* Meets Tuesdays at 9 a.m. 700 Lavaca St., Austin www.traviscountytx.gov/ commissionerscourt *MEETINGS ARE BEING HELD VIRTUALLY MEETINGSWE COVER
Travis County ocials: Facemasks need to become part of culture to reopen society
Facing the facts
BY CHRISTOPHER NEELY
globe while the world works toward developing a cure or vaccine for the highly contagious upper-respiratory virus. “Over time, [wearing face masks] is going to become part of our culture, at least in the short and immediate terms,” Escott said. “Combined with social distancing, it gives us a greater chance to start opening the world back up a little bit.” On April 17, Gov. Greg Abbott announced plans to reopen parts of Texas society, and the following week he loosened bans on nonessential medical procedures, reopened state parks and allowed retail shops to operate to-go business. Austin Mayor Steve Adler said the city agrees with the governor’s strategy and will not challenge the orders.
TRAVIS COUNTY Wearing cloth face coverings over the nose and mouth when performing most activities away from home has evolved from a recommendation into a legal obligation under new coronavirus mitigation orders issued by Austin-Travis County ocials April 13. Nowmandatory, face masks combined with social distancing measures will become part of the new normal as ocials weigh options in reopening society from a near complete shutdown due to the coronavirus, top local health ocials said during an April 14 news conference. Dr. Mark Escott, Austin-Travis County interim health authority, acknowledged it will take time for residents to become comfortable wearing face coverings, but that the act is a crucial step in beginning to restore normalcy in Austin and across the
Austin and Travis County ocials mandated April 13 that all residents wear face coverings when going out in public for essential activities such as buying groceries or pumping gas. Certain exceptions to the mandate apply, including exercising outside with more than 6 feet of space from any other individual.
NICHOLAS CICALECOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER
City sets $15million aside for Austinites hurt by coronavirus
AISD cancels prom, postpones graduation
DELAYED GRADIFICATION Central Austin high schools will hold their ceremonies at the Frank Erwin Center in August. School Date Time Anderson Aug. 12 4 p.m. Ann Richards Aug. 11 2 p.m. Austin Aug. 12 1 p.m. Crockett Aug. 13 3:30 p.m. Eastside Aug. 11 10 a.m. Garza Aug. 11 4:30 p.m. LBJ/LASA Aug. 13 10 a.m. McCallum Aug. 13 1 p.m. Navarro Aug. 13 6 p.m. Northeast Aug. 11 Noon Rosedale Aug. 10 2 p.m.* Travis Aug. 11 7 p.m. *ROSEDALE SCHOOL'S CEREMONYWILL BE AT THE SCHOOL. SOURCE: AUSTIN ISDCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER
BY NICHOLAS CICALE
AUSTIN ISD Austin ISD announced April 14 proms would be canceled and high school graduation ceremo- nies postponed to Aug. 10-13. Grad- uation ceremonies will take place at the Frank Erwin Center except for the Rosedale School graduation, accord- ing to a post sent out by the district April 14. “We are hopeful that we can come together virtually in June and in-person in August to celebrate the successes of our seniors,” the district stated in the notice.
BY CHRISTOPHER NEELY
AUSTIN Austin City Council passed its Relief in a State of Emergency, or RISE, package April 9 to send $15 million from budget reserves directly to nonprots that will help Austinites who may have fallen through the cracks of the federal government’s relief eorts. The city announced the four nonprots to receive funding April 21. Families can call 2-1-1 for more information.
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CENTRAL AUSTIN EDITION • APRIL 2020
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