Austin ISD says mask mandate is still on following Texas Supreme Court comments

Photo of a sign at Cunningham Elementary School
Austin ISD students will head back to school for on-campus learning Aug. 17. (Olivia Aldridge/Community Impact Newspaper)

Austin ISD students will head back to school for on-campus learning Aug. 17. (Olivia Aldridge/Community Impact Newspaper)

Austin ISD's mask requirement will be in effect on the first day school, the district confirmed Aug. 15, following actions from the Texas Supreme Court that reaffirmed Gov. Greg Abbott's ban on mask mandates by local governments and school districts.

"The city of Austin and Travis County have ordered masks be worn in all public buildings and schools to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Austin ISD is complying with that order and will keep the district’s mask requirement," the district said in a statement.

The Texas Supreme Court issued stay orders Aug. 15 against local mask mandates approved by district courts in Dallas and Bexar counties. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton requested other entities with similar mask orders, including Travis County, be subject to the same decision. However, the Supreme Court on Aug. 16 denied Paxton's request.

Paxton addressed an Aug. 16 follow-up letter to other entities that have received restraining orders from lower courts blocking Abbott's executive order GA-38 and enabling mask mandates. He requested those entities comply with G-38 and rescind their mandates by 4 p.m. Aug. 16.

"We are confident your order will inevitably be stayed by the Supreme Court and that any subsequent relief ordered by a trial court will ultimately be reversed," Paxton wrote.

Hector Nieto, public information officer for Travis County, confirmed Travis County has no plans to rescind its mask mandate in light of the Supreme Court's decision at this time.

"We will not stop protecting children, especially those under 12 who are not yet eligible to receive a vaccine," Travis County Judge Andy Brown said in an Aug. 15 tweet.
By Olivia Aldridge

Reporter, Central Austin

Olivia joined Community Impact Newspaper as a reporter in March 2019. She covers public health, business, development and Travis County government. A graduate of Presbyterian College in South Carolina, Olivia worked as a reporter and producer for South Carolina Public Radio before moving to Texas. Her work has appeared on NPR and in the New York Times.


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