Alpine ISD students should be prepared to start school on Aug. 19, and parents will have the option to choose in-person learning or remote learning, at least for now.

“We do not plan to close again,” said Superintendent Becky McCutchen, but stressed the situation was fluid and could change at any time.

The Texas Education Agency ordered schools to open their doors for in-person learning for those who want it, and remote classes for those who don’t. If the situation changes and schools can’t physically open, classes will shift to remote learning immediately for all students.

“We may be going back and forth during the year,” said McCutchen.

Curbside meal delivery at regular prices will be available for students who choose remote learning.

As far as sports, in-person summer strength and conditioning started on July 13. McCutchen noted that UIL had made recommendations, but didn’t specifically say what would happen in the fall.

“No guidance means they’re moving forward,” she said.

Two-a-day practices for football and volleyball will start on Thursday, July 30. Volleyball scrimmages start Monday, Aug. 3, and football scrimmages on Wednesday, Aug. 5. In addition to volleyball and football, cross country and band are slated for fall, with social distancing protocols as directed by UIL.

Around the state

When Gov. Greg Abbott issued a statewide mask mandate ordering Texans to wear face coverings in public, he gave counties the opportunity to opt out if they had 20 or fewer active coronavirus cases.

Two weeks later, at least 80 counties have taken him up on that offer, and several other local governments have insisted they won’t enforce the order even though they don’t qualify. Officials cited a desire to preserve personal freedoms or concerns about enforcement.

Although Brewster County had just seven active cases as of press time, Judge Eleazar Cano had so far chosen not to request an exemption while he awaits more test results.

The latest data show 2,820,803 Texans had been tested for the coronavirus, with 264,313 testing positive, or about 9.3%, up from last week, and 3,235 deaths, or about 1.2% of those testing positive, down slightly from last week.

There are currently 124,659 active cases in Texas, with 10,405 hospitalized, or about 8.3% of active cases, down significantly from last week.

Texas currently has 12,066 hospital beds available for COVID-19 patients, and 5,245 ventilators.

In the Tri-County

Viva Big Bend, Alpine’s annual music festival, scheduled this year for July 24-26, is now planning a virtual event with no in-person performances. With the new format, the audience will watch and listen online, and there will be no charge.

The event will also feature archival footage and special appearances. Online donations will be split between a designated charity, the bands, and the festival.

Organizers called the format “a safe and enjoyable way for people to enjoy live music,” and stressed they would “continue to monitor the situation and adjust as necessary.”

The 2020 Sul Ross State University ANRS and Rodeo Exes Reunion scheduled for July 31-Aug. 2 has been canceled.

Don Lambert, president of the Exes Alumni Association, said in a statement, “With the uncertainty of the times right now, both COVID-19 and the economic downturn, we feel it is in the best interest of all concerned.”

He indicated the board might consider a mini-reunion in the fall.

After a campus-wide delay, Museum of the Big Bend reopened to visitors on July 14. Summer hours are Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Face coverings are required when visiting the Museum.

The Trappings of Texas exhibit that has been available online only can now be seen first hand at the Museum.

Alpine Public Library is now open Saturdays for curbside service. Curbside hours are now Monday from 9 a.m.-1 p.m., Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., and Saturday from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Ring the doorbell for service.

As of July 13, the latest information available, Brewster County reported 157 COVID-19 positive test results out of 2,772 tested, 148 recoveries, two deaths, and no hospitalizations.



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