"Leander ISD continues to strongly recommend wearing masks to keep our schools open for in-person learning and to safeguard the health of our students, teachers, and staff. Both of our local health agencies recommend masks for anyone two years of age or older," a release said. "Until we receive different guidance from the state, we plan to follow the governor’s order (GA-38)."
Pflugerville ISD also began school Aug. 12 and, similar to LISD, will not require masks at school after the conflicting orders.
The Texas Education Agency said Aug. 12 that it is "refraining from issuing updated public health guidance" due to conflicting local orders and Gov. Greg Abbott's executive order that prohibits mask mandates from governments.
— Texas Education Agency (@teainfo) August 12, 2021
This comes as other Texas governments, including Austin ISD, Travis County/Austin and Dallas County, have ordered masks mandates this week—defying Abbott's July 29 order.
On Aug. 11, Travis County Judge Andy Brown and Austin Mayor Steve Adler issued an order that requires masks at public schools as well as on city and county premises. Leander ISD has several campuses within Travis County in the southern area of the district.
The district remains in its "yellow" level of COVID-19 transmission. In the yellow stage, masks are recommended indoors; desks may be arranged as needed with 3 feet of distance if possible; and twice-daily hand-washing sessions are recommended for elementary students, according to the district's protocols last updated Aug. 10.
There have been 30 reported coronavirus cases at LISD campuses since Aug. 7 and 33 total cases since Aug. 5, according to the district's case dashboard. The district is asking staff and families to self-report COVID-19 cases online.
LISD expanded its virtual learning program Aug. 10 to allow over 2,000 more students to learn remotely for the first nine weeks of school. These additional students, who are from kindergarten to sixth grade, will begin school online Aug. 19.
The district will contact trace students from prekindergarten through sixth grade and inform families if their student was in close contact of a case, Superintendent Bruce Gearing said to the school board Aug. 5. For other grades, families will be notified at a classroom level. Gearing said this will be a different level of contact tracing because students are in multiple classrooms during the day.