Austin and Travis County extend mask mandate to public colleges

Austin and Travis County are adding public colleges to their list of places where masking is required.

City and county officials on Wednesday signed orders requiring people over the age of 2 to wear masks in city and county buildings and in public schools. On Friday, they amended the ordinances to include public colleges, such as Austin Community College. The requirement does not apply to colleges located on state property, like UT Austin, a city and county spokesperson said.

“Students, staff and visitors over the age of two are MANDATORY to wear a face covering while on school property or on school buses during stages 3, 4 and 5, as indicated. in Austin Public Health ‘risk-based table, the order now states. “This includes all public schools, including public charter schools and public colleges in the City of Austin and Travis County.”

This takes effect immediately. Shortly after the announcement, the Austin Community College board voted to adopt a mask mandate in all campus buildings.

Austin has been in Stage 5 of Austin Public Health’s risk-based guidelines since last week.

Local mask warrants defy Gov. Greg Abbott’s order banning state, local governments and school districts from requiring people to wear masks. Over the past week, several counties and school districts have chosen to go against Abbott’s order as coronavirus cases and hospitalizations continue to rise.

The four most populous counties in the state – Travis, Harris, Bexar and Dallas – have all made masks mandatory in public schools. Austin ISD announced his tenure on Monday. On Thursday night, the San Marcos Consolidated ISD School Board voted to implement a mask mandate, as did Del Valle ISD.

Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton have pledged to bring local government and school district officials who violate the governor’s order to justice. Some counties, including Bexar and Dallas, have sued Abbott for the right to mandate masks and achieved temporary victories.

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