Eagles Soar Newsletter

W. Charles Akins Early College High School

March 23rd-March 29th 2020

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Hello Akins Family

Hello Akins Family!

I know this time of social distancing and school closures is unprecedented and scary but please know we are working diligently to get our online (BLEND) program together within the next two weeks for all of our students to be successful through the end of the 2019-2020 school year. We will be launching online learning on April 6th, 2020. (This is as of today 3/23/2020). I will be updating you weekly in this format.

All functions scheduled to happen at W. Charles Akins ECHS through April 10th, 2020 are cancelled. Students should not come to campus until further notice. If students left necessary items on campus we will deal with this on a case by case basis in order to ensure the health and safety for all. Parents and students if this is the case please reach out to your Assistant Principal via email. We are currently working to access our work phones from home.

Assistant Principal email address are listed below:

ABLLE: Brad Lancaster: bradley.lancaster@austinisd.org

AHA: Jennifer Dawson: jennifer.dawson@austinisd.org

Early College HS: Manuel Garcia: manuel.garcia@austinisd.org

Green Tech: Ernesto Wallace: ernesto.wallace@austinisd.org

New Tech: Dr. Susan Thames: susan.thames@austinisd.org

STEM: Carman Deleon-Wisel: carman.deleon-wissel@austinisd.org

Social Services: Dr. Kerrie Carter-Walker: kerrie.carter-walker@austinisd.org

We are dedicated to working with all of our students in order to ensure their success. Please be patient with us and we do all we can for the health and safety of all of our students.

We are in this together!


Much love,

Tina Salazar

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Class of 2020

Please know our hearts break for you for the time that we aren't together for your senior year. At this point your major events such as prom and graduation are not cancelled. Our prom is in May and we have no idea of knowing where we will be then. Our hope is to find a way to hold these events for you when it is safe.

Your safety is and always will be my number one concern. I love you and miss you all! but it is so important that you take care of yourself during this time. Please stay safe and continue to make good decisions. We will get through this together!

Tina Salazar


Spectrum and Comcast are offering free WIFI for K-12 students

Spectrum is offering free Wi-Fi and broadband access up to 100 MBPS to any household with K-12 and/or college students that doesn’t already have Spectrum. Installation fees will be waived for these households, and anyone wishing to enroll will need to call 1-844-488-8395.

Comcast is expanding a service they already offer for low-income families called Internet Essentials. The service, which is normally $9.95 a month, will be free for new customers for 60 days and is 25 MBPS. People hoping to sign up for the services can call 1-855-846-8376 for English and 1-855-765-6995 for Spanish.

Meals during School Closures - Akins is a Curbside Site (offered in the loop by the cafeteria)

Starting March 23, meals will be available Monday-Friday. Curbside meals will be offered at more than 15 sites. Austin ISD school buses will deliver meals throughout the community at more than 50 locations. Sites were chosen based on 50 percent or more students receiving meal benefits.

Curbside meal sites, open Monday-Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m, are listed below. Families are advised to stay in their cars and not enter buildings during meal pick up. Families do not need to be in a car to get the meals. Families who come by walking/biking/transit will still be able to receive food outside the campuses. For more information: https://www.austinisd.org/coronavirus/meals

Akins is a curbside site and offers meals in the loop 11:00a.m. - 2:00 p.m.

Virtual Care for kids partners with AISD

Virtual Care for Kids has agreed to waive all co-pays for all AISD telemedicine visits. In addition students with Medicaid will receive free care.

If you wish to utilize this service please register your child at: https://urgentcarekids.com/aisd/

To see a provider please visit: https://urgentcarekids.com/pediatric-telemedicine-for-kids/

Todas las familias del AISD tienen acceso a la telemedicina por medio de nuestra asociación con Virtual Care for Kids. Pueden ver a un proveedor desde la comodidad de su hogar al utilizar una computadora portátil, computadora de escritorio, iPhone, teléfono Android o tableta. Además, este servicio actualmente está eximiendo los copagos para las familias del AISD. Para aprovechar estos servicios deben inscribirse primero en my.austinisd.org Para que los vea un proveedor, visiten https://urgentcarekids.com/pediatric-telemedicine-for-kids/?gclid=Cj0KC…

Para más información sobre la telemedicina de Virtual Care for Kids en el Austin ISD, visiten https://urgentcarekids.com/aisd/.

Student Support Services Check-in: from Meg Scamardo Akins Social Worker

Akins Student Support Services Information:

Google Doc of Resources:


  • Students/parents need to remember that due to our current environment right now resources may be experiencing changes such as a higher volume of need, lower staff shortages, etc. PLEASE don't give up. Call, email, call, call, and call again! You are not bothering anyone, and people WANT to help you get your needs met. It just may take time. Have hope. Don't give up.
  • The document also includes emergency and crisis response resources.
  • We'll have a document with financial and material assistance to you tomorrow.
Follow S.S.S. on Twitter @SSSatAkinsHS

  • We'll be posting short videos, reflections, mindfulness activities, self regulation activities, and much, much more
  • Get on our remind here: https://www.remind.com/join/8368hf3 or by texting the message, "@8368hf3" to 81010
  • We're collaborating on how to provide virtual services to our students and should have a plan in place soon! (I'll email you that info as soon as possible.)

Virtual S.S.S. Contact Information

  • Students and parents can PLEASE feel free to email me at margaret.scamardo@austinisd.org or call me at (737) 231 - 0201 if there is anything I can do to support our community at this time.

Vida Clinic and Intregal Care-Mental Health Resources in English and Espanol

Vida Clinic

Our school based mental health partner, Vida Clinic, is offering teletherapy services to the Austin ISD community beginning Wednesday, Mar. 18. These services will allow adults and students to access quality mental health services right from their own homes. To learn more or schedule services, contact our Vida Clinic Care Team at 512-518-2209 or by email at vidacare@vidaclinic.org.

Integral Care

Additionally, if you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis, Integral Care has a 24/7 Crisis Helpline at 512-472-HELP (4357). You can also Text TX to 741741 to connect to Crisis Text Line. Crisis Text Line provides free, 24/7 crisis support via text. Integral Care is also working with NAMI Central Texas to make sure the community has resources available during this challenging time. They will be posting helpful tools on their website this weekend, including tips and tools for managing stress and how to talk to your children about this uncertain time.

Clínica Vida

Nuestro socio de salud mental en las escuelas, la Clínica Vida, estará ofreciendo servicios de teleterapia para la comunidad del Austin ISD a partir del miércoles, 18 de marzo. Estos servicios les permitirán a los adultos y estudiantes acceder a servicios de salud mental de calidad desde sus propios hogares. Para más información o para programar servicios, comuníquense con nuestro equipo de atención de la Clínica Vida al 512-518-2209 o por correo electrónico a vidacare@vidaclinic.org.

Atención Integral

Además, si ustedes o alguien que conocen están experimentando una crisis de salud mental, Atención Integral tiene una línea de ayuda para crisis 24 horas al día, 7 días a la semana en 512-472-HELP (4357). También puede enviar un texto que diga TX al 741741 para comunicarse con la línea de textos durante crisis. La línea de textos durante crisis ofrece apoyo durante crisis 24 horas al día, 7 días a la semana vía texto. Atención Integral también está trabajando con NAMI del centro de Texas para procurar que la comunidad tenga recursos disponibles durante estos tiempos difíciles. Publicarán herramientas útiles en su sitio web este fin de semana, incluyendo consejos y herramientas para manejar el estrés y cómo hablar con sus hijos sobre estos tiempos inciertos.

Restorative Justice Virtual Services for Akins ECHS Students and Families

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UIL Updates


UIL Announces Extended Suspension of All UIL Activities — University Interscholastic League (UIL)

AUSTIN — The University Interscholastic League (UIL) is extending its suspension of all UIL sanctioned activities due to the outbreak of COVID-19 in Texas. All contests, practices, rehearsals and workouts will remain suspended until further notice.

At this time, the earliest games and contests may resume is Monday, May 4th. Prior to this date, the UIL will allow its member schools a reasonable acclimatization period for rehearsals and practices to occur. All decisions remain flexible and will be consistent with the advice of local, state and federal officials.

“We are working diligently on contingency plans to conduct state championships in each of the activities that have been suspended,” said UIL Executive Director Dr. Charles Breithaupt. “While the immediate future is unclear, we are committed to providing these much-desired activities to all Texas students and will prepare for all possible outcomes, including extended school closures.”

The UIL will continue to provide timely, ongoing updates and is reassessing this ever-changing situation daily. Please continue to check the UIL website and social media accounts for further updates.

Talking to your children about COVID-19/Coronavirus

Remain calm and reassuring.

  • Remember that children will react to both what you say and how you say it. They will pick up cues from the conversations you have with them and with others.

Make yourself available to listen and to talk.

  • Make time to talk. Be sure children know they can come to you when they have questions.

Pay attention to what children see or hear on television, radio, or online.

  • Consider reducing the amount of screen time focused on COVID-19. Too much information on one topic can lead to anxiety.

Provide information that is honest and accurate.

  • Give children information that is truthful and appropriate for the age and developmental level of the child.
  • Talk to children about how some stories on COVID-19 on the Internet and social media may be based on rumors and inaccurate information.

Teach children everyday actions to reduce the spread of germs.

  • Remind children to stay away from people who are coughing or sneezing or sick.
  • Remind them to cough or sneeze into a tissue or their elbow, then throw the tissue into the trash.
  • Discuss any new actions that may be taken at school to help protect children and school staff. (e.g., increased handwashing, cancellation of events or activities)
  • Get children into a handwashing habit.
    • Teach them to wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing their nose, coughing, or sneezing; going to the bathroom; and before eating or preparing food.
    • If soap and water are not available, teach them to use hand sanitizer. Hand sanitizer should contain at least 60% alcohol. Supervise young children when they use hand sanitizer to prevent swallowing alcohol, especially in schools and childcare facilities.

Facts about COVID-19 for discussions with children

Try to keep information simple and remind them that health and school officials are working hard to keep everyone safe and healthy.

What is COVID-19?

  • COVID-19 is the short name for “coronavirus disease 2019.” It is a new virus. Doctors and scientists are still learning about it.
  • Recently, this virus has made a lot of people sick. Scientists and doctors think that most people will be ok, especially kids, but some people might get pretty sick.
  • Doctors and health experts are working hard to help people stay healthy.

What can I do so that I don’t get COVID-19?

  • You can practice healthy habits at home, school, and play to help protect against the spread of COVID-19:
    • Cough or sneeze into a tissue or your elbow. If you sneeze or cough into a tissue, throw it in the trash right away.
    • Keep your hands out of your mouth, nose, and eyes. This will help keep germs out of your body.
    • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Follow these five steps—wet, lather (make bubbles), scrub (rub together), rinse and dry. You can sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice.
    • Keep things clean. Older children can help adults at home and school clean the things we touch the most, like desks, doorknobs, light switches, and remote controls. (Note for adults: you can find more information about cleaning and disinfecting on CDC’s website.)
    • If you feel sick, stay home. Just like you don’t want to get other people’s germs in your body, other people don’t want to get your germs either.


Instruction - What does instructional continuity mean?

“Instructional Continuity” is a phrase introduced by the Texas Education Agency that

refers to the development of a specific plan to address “high absenteeism or school

closures for short-term or long-term periods of time.” As we receive more guidance from

TEA, the district will roll out more specific steps to meet the guidelines from the agency.

At this time, Austin ISD is working to ensure our students, families, and staff remain

safe and healthy in a time of significant disruption. The district is attending to our

students and our community’s basic needs first (e.g. prioritizing our students’ access to

food) while developing and distributing resources for engaging students in learning


Instruction -

How will parents receive learning standards, and resources after

spring break or once school starts on April 6? And, how will learning continue?

AISD is crafting resources for the home setting that provide connections and whole child

support. Resources will be available online. We are also preparing additional

resources and providing professional learning for teachers and staff to engage with

students in this new mode.

Instruction -

What is happening with Extra Curricular and Co-curricular Classes?

We are assessing how to best address these areas.

Instruction - How students in special education receive instruction?

The needs of special education students are a priority and we are working to provide

innovative ways to support students' individualized needs while keeping health and

safety foremost.

Student Internet Access: Will our students have 1:1 and Internet access?

Currently, 1:1 devices have been provided to students in grades 8-12 and in five middle

schools. 7th and 8th grade students at these middle schools also have internet access

through the support of Verizon. 2,000 hotspots have also been provided in our high

schools through support from Sprint. 2,000 additional hotspots have been provided to

middle school libraries for student distribution.

AISD has installed hot spots on our buses and will be situated throughout our city for

students and staff to access.

Accountability - Do we have updates on EOC, STAAR, graduation requirements,

TELPAS, etc.?

The Governor waived state law and requested a waiver from the United States

Department of Education (USDE) for all testing requirements for this year. STAAR will

not be administered by Texas Education Agency (TEA) this year. We will receive

guidance from TEA for grade level promotion and other issues related to this

assessment decision (e.g. graduating seniors this year, and in future years). TEA will

also be extending the TELPAS window for testing and processing and will ask for a

waiver from the USDE for local determinations to be used to guide English Language

determinations this year. The TEA communicated to expect more flexibility on TELPAS

as it continues to review the situation.

Child Nutrition - Will we continue to provide breakfast and lunch for students?

Starting March 23, meals will be available Monday-Friday. Curbside meals will be

offered at 16 sites. Austin ISD school buses will deliver meals throughout the

community at 54 locations. Sites were chosen based on 50 percent or more students

receiving meal benefits. We will have two different types of service:

1. Curbside- Parents/caregivers drive up in the parent drop off line to receive free,

chilled lunches for each child and parent/caregiver in the car to take home and

re-heat. Curbside meal sites, open Monday-Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Families are advised to stay in their cars and not enter buildings during meal pick


2. Delivery - in partnership with the Transportation Department, four (4) kitchens will

produce chilled lunches to load on to busses and delivery in the community to

children and parents/caregivers to take home and re-heat.

As of March 18, the following locations have been identified for curbside service:

East Austin

Blanton, Blackshear and Govalle elementary schools and Eastside Memorial

Early College High School

North Austin

Cook Elementary School, Burnet and Dobie middle schools

Northeast Austin

TA Brown Elementary School and LBJ Early College High School

South Central Austin

Dawson and Linder elementary schools and Crockett Early College High School

Southeast Austin

Houston, Perez and Pleasant Hill elementary schools and Akins Early College

High School

Food service staff are also arranging with the food bank for the non-serving sites to

pack boxes of food for food bank distribution through our transportation teams, so

everyone will be involved with creating food access.

Student Health Services - Will students continue to have access to TeleHealth

and how do they access it?

Due to the threat of COVID-19 and the growing need for medical care, Virtual Care for

Kids is making every effort to expand care to children across the state to help prevent

the spread of the virus. In addition to waiving all copays for telemedicine visits, all self-

pay visits will now be discounted to $50. Patients with Medicaid will be offered FREE or

low-cost telemedicine visits. The average wait for a virtual provider is currently 2

minutes or less. No need to expose your family to COVID-19. Visits are accessible

FROM HOME on any smartphone, tablet, or computer. On-demand telemedicine visits

are available from 9 AM - 9 PM every day of the week through Urgent Care for Kids.

Student Health Services - Will students have access to Teletherapy, Mental Health


Austin ISD's school-based mental health partner, Vida Clinic, is offering teletherapy

services to the Austin ISD community beginning Wednesday, March 18. These services

will allow adults and students to access quality mental health services right from their

own homes. To schedule an appointment, visit https://vidaclinic.org/virtualvida/ or

contact our Vida Clinic Care Team at 512-518-2209 or by email at


Student Health Services - How will we utilize our Seton nurses during this time?

AISD is collaborating with Seton to identify how health services staff can best support

students during this time.

Facilities - What are we doing to keep facilities clean and safe?

Custodial and child nutrition staff will support cleaning and disinfecting our facilities to

ensure readiness when students and staff return. This work was initiated during spring

break. The custodians will provide a "green product" to food service managers to use.

Our food service-grade sanitizer products will also work to clean and disinfect per the

EPA standards.

Facilities - When and how will facilities be cleaned?

We are asking custodial staff to report to work to continue working on cleaning,

disinfecting and applying Razor Antimicrobial Coating at campuses throughout the

week. Head Custodians will ensure disinfecting all touch points to include door knobs,

push bars, front office counter tops, desk tops, classroom student desk, tables, sink

areas, counter tops, cafeteria tables, hand washing areas, rest rooms, shower locker

areas, gym matting, weight rooms, stairway rails, bleacher rails, drinking fountains,

computer keyboards, library counter tops, book return areas, tables and all other touch

points. Once all areas have been disinfected, they will utilize the GenEon mist foggers

applying the Razor antimicrobial coating that will protect surfaces for up to 90 days. In

order to be proactive, custodial staff have been informed to continue disinfecting daily

and repeat utilizing the GeEon Mist fogger and Razor antimicrobial coating every 80

days.We are following the new requirements from Austin Public Health, and minimizing staff

to 10 or less. Any school that has a staff larger than 10 people must make sure there

are no more than 10 people in each separate/single space.

Facilities - Will construction continue this semester and summer as planned?

Yes. We expect to continue with construction projects as scheduled and will work with

contractors to monitor each site and provide timely guidance as we receive it. We are

also asking contractors to make changes to advance projects while adhering to the

guidance provided by the city, county and state. These changes include: Requiring

alternating breaks by trade on site, moving all meetings to video conferencing,

prohibiting site tours, adding hand sanitizing and wash stations at each wing of site and

at key points of entry, job hazard analysis and the requirement of written plans

submitted to AISD by each general contractor detailing their adopted COVID-19 project

site protocols.

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Tina Salazar

Proud Principal of W. Charles Akins Early College High School