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COVID-19 Latest: Schools Can Be Used For Voting After Austin ISD Declares Election Day A Holiday

Some pedestrians wear face coverings while running along the Butler Hike-And-Bike Trail.
Gabriel C. Pérez
Some pedestrians wear face coverings while running along the Butler Hike-And-Bike Trail.

This post has local news on the coronavirus pandemic from Tuesday, Sept. 29. If you have a news tip or question, email us at

Travis County sees 78 new cases and no new deaths

Austin Public Health reported 78 new cases of COVID-19 in Travis County on Tuesday, down from 91 reported Monday. The seven-day average of daily new cases is 111. No new deaths were reported, so the county’s death total remains at 426.

There are now 73 people reported to be hospitalized with the virus in the five-county region (Travis, Williamson, Hays, Bastrop and Caldwell), five fewer than yesterday. Despite that net decrease, APH reported nine new COVID-19 hospital admissions in the region Tuesday. The seven-day average of new admissions is 12, down from 13.

The area is in stage 3 of APH’s risk-based guidelines. At this level, people are encouraged to avoid gatherings of more than 10 people.

Free masks and hand sanitizer will be distributed Wednesday

Austin Public Health, CommUnityCare and Central Health are scheduling personal protective equipment distributions in areas with high COVID-19 positivity rates.

On Wednesday, they’ll be distributing hand sanitizer, masks and educational materials at Dobie Middle School, 1200 E. Rundberg Lane, from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m.

Austin ISD makes Election Day a holiday so in-person voting on school campuses is safer

The Austin Independent School District Board of Trustees has made Election Day, Nov. 3, a student holiday. The board moved a previously scheduled professional development day from Oct. 12 to Nov. 3.

The change means fewer people will be on campuses that might be used as Election Day voting sites, making social distancing easier as people vote in person during the coronavirus pandemic.

Austin ISD to transition from daily to weekly curbside meal distribution

The Austin Independent School District is shifting its curbside distribution of meals from daily to weekly, so families can make fewer trips.

Each Thursday, beginning Oct. 8, AISD will be providing seven days’ worth of breakfasts and lunches free of charge for any child under the age of 19. Students receiving in-person instruction will be provided with breakfast and lunch on campus, also free of charge. 

The bulk meals, prepared by AISD staff, are chilled and served cold so families can take them home to reheat.

In preparation for the change, families will get additional meals on Friday to provide food through the weekend and for when sites are closed Oct. 5-7.

Meals are distributed at more than 40 locations throughout Austin. Service times will expand once the change is in place. More information can be found here.

Annual Turkey Trot is going remote this fall

The ThunderCloud Subs Turkey Trot is going virtual this year because of the coronavirus pandemic. The annual run supports Caritas of Austin, a nonprofit aimed at ending homelessness. This year is the event’s 30th anniversary.

Instead of a joint run, organizers are encouraging people to run or walk in their own neighborhood — or wherever they happen to be — on Thanksgiving Day.

“It will be different for sure, but hopefully the community spirit that has ‘super-charged’ the Trot for the past 29 years will energize our community once again, and the spirit of doing it together will live on,” ThunderCloud Subs co-owner Mike Haggerty said in a press release.

Registration costs $20 for adults and $10 for children, but prices go up to $25 on Oct. 15. All proceeds benefit Caritas of Austin. The Turkey Trot has raised $4.1 million for Caritas since the event began, ThunderCloud says.

More information and registration can be found here.

Manor ISD hosts virtual town hall to get families ready for in-person learning

The Manor Independent School District is hosting a Return To School Virtual Town Hall tonight to ready families for in-person learning during the coronavirus pandemic. Manor ISD officials say they will share more reopening information about school plans.

The district has extended the deadline for students to choose their preferred learning environment — virtual or in-person — until Thursday. Manor ISD students who opt for on-campus learning can return Oct. 19.

Today's town hall begins at 6 p.m. It will be live-streamed on the district's Facebook page and website at

COVID-19 Dashboard


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

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