Austin ISD announced updates to certain COVID-19 health and safety protocols May 12, including making the use of masks during outdoor activities optional. Students who receive written permission from a parents or guardian will now be permitted not to wear a mask during outdoor activities such as recess where 6 feet of distance can be maintained and physical activity is taking place.

AISD Director of Health Services Alexandra Copeland said masks will remain required indoors.

"At this time, Austin ISD is not considering eliminating masks indoors. We are following [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] guidance on that. At this time, the CDC strongly recommends individuals to wear masks, especially if they're indoors or around others that are not within their household," she said at a news conference.

Additionally, AISD announced end-of-year events, including promotion ceremonies and graduations, can take place as long as they are outdoors. Masks will be required at those ceremonies.

"Everybody will need to wear a mask. COVID screening and temperature checks will be happening for all individuals, and also there will be 6 feet of physical distancing between household members," Copeland said.

The district's quarantine policy was also updated: AISD students and staff who are exposed to coronavirus will be required to quarantine for 10 days, down from 14. In cases where "individuals did not wear masks consistently, or high-risk people who are not vaccinated are involved," 14 days of quarantine remains required.

Copeland said the district's health and safety policies will continue to be reviewed on an ongoing basis with attention to the recommendations of federal and local health authorities.