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COVID-19 June 1 Updates: Austin ISD Considers Options For Fall, Cap Metro Resumes Bus Fares

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Gabriel C. Pérez
/
KUT

We'll be updating this story throughout the day Monday with the latest local news on the coronavirus pandemic. If you have a news tip or question, email us at news@KUT.org.

Update at 8:30 p.m. — Austin ISD will start Aug. 18, but leaders are still figuring out if class will be in person

The Austin Independent School District is planning how to teach students in the fall amid the coronavirus pandemic. At a school board meeting Monday, the district presented multiple options to the board.

Superintendent Paul Cruz said if the district decides to try in-person classes, it would have to consider different options to accommodate social distancing. For example, classrooms might only be allowed to have one fourth of the students they normally do, or buses might only be able to transport a handful of kids when there are normally 60. 

The options the district is looking at all include more frequent breaks throughout the year as well as the ability to return to digital learning at any time.

AISD is hosting listening sessions for parents and teachers June 8 through 14 so they can share concerns they have about going back to school. 

Update at 7:49 a.m. — Capital Metro resumes bus fares Monday

Capital Metro will resume collecting bus fares today for most of its customers. Free fares will continue for people experiencing unemployment and who’ve been approved for benefits by the Texas Workforce Commission.

Cap Metro will also allow people to board from the front door on buses again. The transit agency, which suspended fares on April 1, has put in place additional safety measures like installing plexiglass shields. Face coverings are still required. 

The agency dropped fares in an effort to reduce crowding at fareboxes and bus entrances. Cap Metro's ridership plunged 65% in March, as people were discouraged from using the service unless absolutely necessary.

Update at 7:41 a.m. — Austin-Travis County COVID-19 cases climb by 425 from a week ago

There are now 3,272 coronavirus cases in Austin-Travis County. That case count is up by 425 from a week ago. Austin-Travis County's death toll related to COVID-19 remains unchanged at 93. Williamson County has 621 confirmed cases, up 68 from the week before.

Hays County's case count of 335 is up 65 from a week ago. Bastrop County has 204 cases. That's 31 more cases than the week before. At last count, Burnet County reported 34 coronavirus cases.

Update at 7:33 a.m. — Williamson County reopens its offices

Williamson County is reopening in-person access to its county offices today. That includes all tax offices, the animal shelter, elections and human resources.

Social distancing will be enforced and face coverings are required in county courtrooms. The Williamson County Historic Courthouse will remain closed to the public until further notice — except when commissioners court is in session.

Here’s what happened over the weekend

Police killings spur people to gather in protest despite pandemic

Thousands of people gathered in downtown Austin on FridaySaturday and Sunday to demand justice for black people killed by police in America. 

Protests have been taking place in cities across the country this past week after a police officer killed George Floyd, an unarmed black man, in Minneapolis. In Austin, protesters have also been demanding justice for Mike Ramos, a black and Hispanic man killed by an Austin police officer last month. 

Many Austin protesters wore face coverings, but not everyone stayed at least 6 feet apart from one another, as health officials have been encouraging. 

Mayor Steve Adler released a statement Sunday saying he would not be attending the day’s rally because of concerns over the coronavirus. He encouraged people to wear masks and stay home if they were feeling sick. 

Other local coronavirus news from the weekend:

  • Some more services were allowed to reopen in Texas on Sunday, as more of Gov. Greg Abbott’s plan to reopen the economy in phases went into effect. Camps and sports activities, including sports without fans, were allowed to resume. 
  • Schools can reopen for summer courses starting Monday, as well as recreational sports programs for adults. But games or competitions can’t start until June 15.

What's happening statewide? Check out special coverage from KERA for North Texas, Houston Public MediaTexas Public Radio in San Antonio and Marfa Public Radio.

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