Masks to be optional at Eanes ISD beginning June 1

Student wearing face mask
Masks will soon be optional at Eanes ISD. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

Masks will soon be optional at Eanes ISD. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

Students, staff and visitors at Eanes ISD will not be required to wear a mask indoors or outdoors starting June 1, per a board vote made during a May 11 special meeting.

The 2020-21 academic year will conclude May 26, meaning the change in policy will not impact the current school year.

However, the requirement will be lifted during district summer school classes, camps and other organized activities.

Masks will also be optional at board of trustees meetings, which will continue to be held in-person.

Face coverings have been mandatory on campus at Eanes ISD and surroundings districts since students returned to in-person learning in the fall.

Superintendent Tom Leonard said individual teachers would not have the authority to require masks for their classrooms as it would not be in compliance with the updated policy.

Still, there may be situations where the district may make accommodations to ensure an individual’s safety, according to Leonard, who said these occurrences would be rare.

The change in policy does not prevent individuals including staff members from wearing a mask on campus if desired.

Additionally, a classroom, club or group will have the opportunity to collectively agree to wear face coverings. However, Leonard said EISD would not facilitate these agreements.

Several trustees expressed concern related to the lifted requirements, including James Spradley, who noted that parents signed their children up for summer classes under the assumption that masks would be worn.

Board Member Heather Sheffield said she would prefer more guidance from national or local health authorities.

“I think I would feel better if we had more directives from the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] or from Austin Public Health or somebody saying that we should do this,” Sheffield said.

Recently, parents have approached the board to call for the repeal of face coverings on campus—a decision with which several districts, including Round Rock ISD, have recently grappled.

“Unmask these children now," community member Christie Oats said during the meeting’s open forum session. "Today and June 1 are no different.”

Despite the trustees' initial hesitations, the action passed unanimously. Board Member Laura Clark also noted the decision is still subject to further board consideration if needed.

By Amy Rae Dadamo
Amy Rae Dadamo is the reporter for Lake Travis-Westlake, where her work focuses on city government and education. Originally from New Jersey, Amy Rae relocated to Austin after graduating from Ramapo College of New Jersey in May 2019.


Lingering symptoms, long-term impact of COVID-19 will take time to fully understand

Dr. Mary Katherine Theoktisto answers questions regarding the virus.

Salvation Pizza, opening in the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport June 16, is one of several new pizza options in the Austin area. (Courtesy Salvation Pizza)
Pie chart: See a map of 11 new, coming-soon pizza options in the Austin area

New spots include Above Ground Pizza opening in New Bruanfels after several permitting delays and Salvation Pizza feeding travelers at the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport

Austin City Council members finalized their spending plan for the federal stimulus dollars before adjourning for their summer recess that will stretch to late July. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin will dedicate $100M in federal stimulus funds to combating homelessness over two years

In one of their last detailed discussions before their summer break, council members secured funding for several of their individual priorities alongside homelessness allocations.

Photo of Congress Street
The Moontower Comedy Festival will return in September

Headliners for the four-day festival include Margaret Cho, Dave Attell and others.

Here is your guide to spending the weekend in the Lake Travis-Westlake region. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
5 things to do this weekend in the Lake Travis-Westlake area

Live music, markets and more events are taking place in the Lake Travis-Westlake region this weekend.

The extension of Kenney Fort Boulevard is underway north of Hwy. 79. (Amy Bryant/Community Impact Newspaper)
North-south road in Round Rock makes progress; homestead exemption OK'd in Leander and more Central Texas news

Read the top business and community news from the past week from the Central Texas area.

Candlewood Suites is located at 10811 Pecan Park Blvd., Bldg. 2, Austin. (Chris Neely/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin City Council votes for improved coordination with local counties on homeless issues; no action taken on Williamson County Candlewood Suites purchase before summer break

Council members unaimously approved a resolution aimed at improving collaboration on homeless strategy between Austin and local county officials June 10.

Photo of a drive-thru vaccine clinic
Travis County and partners to hold multiple vaccine clinics over the weekend, June 11-13

A drive-thru clinic at the Travis County Expo Center, along with several other neighborhood pop-ups, will offer the Pfizer vaccine this weekend.

Five Below is coming soon to Bee Cave. (Amy Rae Dadamo/Community Impact Newspaper)
Five Below to open Bee Cave location

Five Below is scheduled to open a new location in the Shops at the Galleria shopping center.

Central Austin home prices reached a median price of $675,000 in April. (Olivia Aldridge/Community Impact Newspaper)
City Council votes to double Austin's homestead tax exemption

The exemption's increase from 10% to 20% of a homestead's value follows the passage of an additional exemption increase for senior and disabled Austinites last week.

Bee Cave city leaders and residents are considering how best to grow Central Park over the next several years. (Greg Perliski/Community Impact Newspaper)
A park's purpose: Bee Cave confronts how to grow Central Park

Beyond basic infrastructure, the city could bring an all-abilities play area to West Travis County.