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Austin ISD continues to require masks for rest of school year after updated CDC guidance

The updated policies loosen requirements for masks, gatherings and quarantining.

AUSTIN, Texas — With just a few weeks left of the school year, Austin ISD changed its COVID-19 protocols, including masking and gathering policies.

The school district sent the updated policies in an email to parents Wednesday, citing low coronavirus infection rates as a result of precautions such as masking and social distancing. The new policies went into effect Wednesday, May 12.

RELATED: Austin ISD officials plan 'typical' school year for 2021-22

The updated policies loosen requirements for masks, gatherings and quarantining. 

On Thursday, the CDC updated its guidance, saying Americans who are fully vaccinated can go without masks both indoors and outside regardless of physical distancing. Austin ISD's new masking policy will remain the same.

"Since we have no way to verify vaccination statuses and, until this week, most of our students were not yet eligible to be vaccinated, Austin ISD will continue to require masking through the rest of the school year and with graduation ceremonies," Austin ISD said on its website.

Here's a look at the new Austin ISD policies:

  • Wearing a face covering will no longer be required for outdoor activities when social distancing can be practiced. This included recess
  • End-of-year activities such as promotion ceremonies are allowed outdoors 
  • Quarantining is now required for 10 days instead of 14 days. Exceptions include when masks were not worn consistently during the possible exposure or when high-risk people who have not been vaccinated are involved, which would require a 14-day quarantine
  • Campus visitors and those wanting to tour campuses "for educational activities and instructional purposes" are allowed as long as the visits are approved beforehand and visitors are screened and have temperatures checked

On Wednesday, Hays CISD also announced changes to its mask policy. While masks are required through the end of the school year, starting June 1, 2021, masks will become optional on district facilities. However, CISD says that mask will still be required for all UIL activities and "possibly other limited occasions." 

Guidelines for the 2021-2022 school year may change if the CDC, Austin Public Health and the American Academy of Pediatrics has updated guidance.

Parents can ask questions about the updated policy on the district's website.

WATCH: Austin ISD's plans for the fall: More face-to-face learning

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