COVID-19 policies will remain unchanged for public school students and staff in western Travis County.

Eanes and Lake Travis ISDs released statements March 4 in response to Gov. Greg Abbott’s March 2 announcement that he will lift Texas’ statewide mask mandate and other business-related restrictions March 10.

Those statements indicate that Abbott’s Executive Order GA-34 will not impact the operational requirements of local ISDs.

Following conversations with its administration, Austin Public Health and the Texas Education Agency, EISD stated March 4 that it will maintain its COVID-19 protocols, including the on-campus mask mandate.

“The day is coming when we will relax and/or eliminate the requirement for masks in our school, but that day is not next week,” Superintendent Tom Leonard said in a statement.

LTISD Superintendent Paul Norton sent the community a similar statement March 4 indicating there will be no change in the district’s COVID-19 policies. Students and staff will continue to be requiredto wear masks within the school buildings and at outdoor events.

These decisions were made in conjunction with updated guidance from TEA released the day prior, which stated that individual school districts will have authority over mask policies.

Both superintendents acknowledged the recent announcement from the Texas Department of State Health Services that teachers, school staff and child care workers are now eligible for coronavirus vaccines.

“While it’s encouraging to see segments of our population getting vaccinated, the vast majority of our teachers and staff have not yet had the opportunity to obtain a vaccine,” Norton said.

The same holds true for staff at EISD, according to Leonard, who said the district is hopeful that the DSHS’ recent announcement will help prioritize school staff in the state’s vaccine rollout.