Austin’s Top News – January 4, 2021 | KLBJ-AM

COVID-19 update

Travis County has seen some very notable leaps in hospital admissions with coronavirus in the past few weeks. Today that number has risen to 484. Of the currently 4,837 cases, 151 people are in the intensive care unit. As of March, 51,956 cases have been confirmed, resulting in 46,569 recoveries.

AISD on campus

Classes are scheduled to start again on campus on Wednesday. Austin School District superintendent Stephanie Elizalde says this was a decision she believes must be made. But it wasn’t easy.

“It’s very, very hard for the fact that I know a lot of people are going to totally disagree with the way we keep our classrooms open,” says Elizalde.

University sports will continue, but all activities will be canceled. Elizalde says most families have chosen to stay virtual, but the AISD has to offer some face-to-face courses in order to continue receiving government funding.

Teacher not convinced to return

While some teachers in Austin are all ready to return to the classroom this week, many others weren’t convinced. Casis elementary school teacher Brandon Batiansila tells KVUE that they will only teach children in person.

“I have 24 in a portable device because we built on our campus. So it will be extremely tight, ”says Batiansila.

He has been denied home placement, so his only option is to come in or quit. The district says there will be numerous security measures, including plexiglass in every classroom.

ISD teachers in Austin receive the COVID vaccine. However, AISD Education Austin wants more than that, especially as face-to-face classes are due to resume this week. Union President Ken Zarifis wants the district to offer flexibility to teachers.

“The ability to adjust the timetables to accommodate teachers who have been denied housing despite having problems so profound and profound that they deserve housing,” says Zarifis.

Zarifis said the district has yet to contact the union as 127 complaints have been filed about teachers who have been denied COVID-19 housing.

The Leander School District will also resume on campus this week. The staff returns today. The students come back tomorrow. The district states that it feels it can continue to operate while making decisions for individual locations as needed.

Landlords ask for relief

While tenants in Austin and Travis Counties continue to be evacuated, landlords continue to carry cargo as they have to pay bills each month. Gloria Gene Moore tells KXAN that her family owns real estate on site and she feels like a tenant or uses the eviction moratorium.

“What I would ask now is that Travis County gives land tax exemptions to landlords like us who had no other relief,” says Moore.

Tenants paying less than $ 2,500 per month cannot be forced to vacate until at least next month. That will very likely be extended. In the meantime, landlords have been dealing with this moratorium for almost a year.

TABC bars as restaurants

As Travis County continues to say that bars that operate as restaurants are behind recent spikes in COVID, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission will ponder the future of a bar’s ability to continue operating in that capacity.

“With the restaurants, with the bar owners, with other industry members to see if they support it or not. After all, voluntary compliance works best for us at TABC, ”says Bentley Nettles from TABC.

More than 26,000 inspections have been conducted across Texas since the pandemic began. Fortunately, only about 200 have been marked for license suspensions.

New Wilco police chief

Williamson County officially has a makeover at the helm of the sheriff’s office. Democrat Mike Gleason was sworn in as sheriff over the weekend and took over for Robert Chody. Gleason says Chody left a lot of work for him.

“We have a large backlog of cases because the previous administration simply didn’t deal with them. Some sexual assault, some issues with officials that we need to look at. “Gleason,

Some investigations have already started. He also says he managed to fully occupy the sheriff’s office to start the new year.

Austin City Council

Austin City Council will officially have new faces this week. Vanessa Fuentes took over the council from District 2 and Mackenzie Kelly took over the office from District 6. Both will be sworn in this week, although the ceremonies will be much smaller than in previous years due to COVID restrictions.

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