AUSTIN, Texas - Local school districts were given the power by the Texas Education Agency to decide their own mask policy after Gov. Greg Abbott announced the statewide mask mandate will end March 10th.
Tuesday's announcement from Gov. Abbott left Austin ISD parents like Sharyn Vane worried that her children’s district would opt out of mask-wearing at school.
"It felt like we were really getting close to seeing the light at the end of the tunnel with case counts being down, and now to just all of a sudden throw open the doors to no masks required and 100% business occupancy, it just feels too much too soon," said Vane.
Under newly updated TEA guidelines, "a public school system’s current practices on masks may continue unchanged. Local school boards have full authority to determine their local mask policy."
Austin ISD has decided to continue requiring masks on campus.
"At this time, Austin ISD will still be requiring masks of all staff, students, and visitors that come on to AISD grounds," said Alexandra Copeland, Director Of Health Services at Austin ISD.
AISD is not the only school district in Central Texas choosing to keep its mask policy. So far, Hays CISD, Georgetown ISD, Leander ISD, and Round Rock ISD have also decided to keep their current mask policies in place. Masks are to be worn by everyone coming inside the building even after the mask mandate is lifted statewide on March 10th.
"At this time, masks are still an effective way of mitigating the spread of COVID-19, and that has worked with our district and has helped us keep our numbers lower so we're going to be continuing to follow that," said Copeland.
Some school districts in Central Texas have not yet released an update to their mask policy. It is expected those schools will release details before the statewide mask mandate is lifted.