RRISD Decides to Virtually Reopen Schools For First Three Weeks


RRISD issued an announcement on the reopening of schools, stating that for the first three weeks, all learning would be online.

Superintendent Steve Flores announced that all RRISD schools would reopen on Aug. 20th, as originally scheduled, albeit online. This move comes as Texas and the Austin area experience a surge of coronavirus cases, which each day bringing new record highs. The district had hoped that the curve would flatten before August arrived, but that dream has been dashed in the last couple weeks.

We had all hoped that public health conditions would improve during the summer, but as you know, they have worsened dramatically over the past month, particularly in our metropolitan areas, including the Austin-Round Rock region,” Mr. Flores said in the email.

Currently, the district is required to offer students the option of meeting in person after the three-week mark by the Texas Education Agency (TEA). This may be due to pressure from the federal government, as the Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has been applying pressure to Governors to offer in-person learning opportunities. This goes against the advice of public health professionals at both the federal and state levels, including Director of the NIAID Anthony Fauci. Heeding this advice, Mr. Flores said that he would be asking the TEA to delay in-person learning.

“If this outbreak does not subside or grows worse, I think we should delay,” Trustee Cory Vessa said. “If we do not provide in-person instruction [at the end of the three-weeks], we will lose our funding from the state, which includes local property taxes collected by RRISD.”

Mr. Flores announced several new technologies that will be introduced to aid with online learning, including the service Schoology. More information will be unveiled during the upcoming town hall meetings and in the Reimagining Education plan, which the district will release on Friday, July 17. We have reached out to RRISD Trustee Cory Vessa with a request for comment and will update this story if she responds.


Update: This story has been modified to include Ms. Vessa’s response to our request for comment.