|Gratitude To Our Entire Community|
Parents, Guardians & Staff,
This morning, I re-visited all of our campuses. It was a good day. Children at the elementary schools bounced onto campus like any other day. Middle School students chatted with friends and went off to class. And at Westlake HS, there is excitement for the first Friday night football game. Today, truly, was an uneventful Friday on our campuses across Eanes ISD. Students and staff were happily welcomed, engaged, cooperative and safe. Throughout the day, the atmosphere in classrooms was calm, respectful and upbeat. A very small number of students did not wear masks and we are working with those families. Across the district, we are only having discussions about the mask requirement with less than 1% of our total enrollment. We have implemented alternate learning locations, but are hopeful these students will soon choose to rejoin their classmates.
Whether you agree or disagree with present opinions and positions on a mask requirement, one thing is undebatable: we all want our children and teachers to be healthy, together and in-person at school. Fortunately, that happened for nearly everyone in every Eanes ISD school today, even though many schools and districts around Central Texas continue to shut down due to rising COVID cases.
Our objective has always been clear and has been achieved since Sept. 8, 2020: to sustain in-person learning in all of our schools. Right now, we are one of very few public school districts in Central Texas with 100% in-person learning. Students are learning, our band is playing, our artists are creating, our dancers are performing and our athletes are competing.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) both recommend in-person learning for children as well as wearing masks indoors. That is what the current court rulings require for school districts in Travis County and that is what Austin Public Health requires for the safety of those on our campuses and for the larger community. We wear masks not only for our health but also for the health of the community, especially for our neighbors who may need to access a hospital for any reason and for the nurses and doctors struggling while we are in Stage 5 of a pandemic.
While boards in other districts may make decisions or take no action according to what they predict or believe the legal system could eventually determine, Eanes ISD’s Board of Trustees continues to prioritize the wellbeing of our students and staff based on current legal orders specific to Travis County (click here for more explanation).
No matter what may change, teaching and learning will continue this year with an unwavering focus on what is best for our students. Thank you for your understanding, support and patience. Now we can look forward to the weekend and to Westlake High School’s first football game against Temple tonight.
No matter which school your children are in on this Friday in August, as WHS Principal Steve Ramsey and Coach Todd Dodge often say, “it’s a great day to be a Chaparral.”
Dr. Tom Leonard
Superintendent of Schools