Gov. Abbott closes schools in Texas through May 4

District acts in compliance with order, pledges to continue learning despite COVID-19 restrictions

Gov.+Abbott+closes+schools+in+Texas+through+May+4

Shield staff reports

In a move with direct impact on the remainder of the Mac school year, Gov. Greg Abbott today issued an Executive Order establishing essential protocols for the entire state. In line with President Trump’s extension of COVID-19 restrictions through April 30 on Sunday, Abbott’s order directs all Texans to minimize non-essential gatherings and in-person contact with people who are not in the same household.

I urge my fellow Texans to heed these heightened social distancing directives to protect their health and the health of those around them. By following these guidelines, we will limit the spread of COVID-19 and overcome this challenge together.”

— Gov. Greg Abbott

The order includes closing school campuses throughout Texas until May 4 at the earliest.

The exact language of the order as it pertains to schools reads: “In accordance with the Guidelines from the President and the CDC, schools shall remain temporarily closed to in-person classroom attendance and shall not recommence before May 4, 2020.”

The order continues the existing ban on entering bars, restaurants, food courts or massage establishments and expands the ban to include tattoo studios, piercing studios and cosmetology salons. Texans are also prohibited from visiting nursing homes, state supported living centers, assisted living facilities, or long-term care facilities unless they provide critical assistance.

The order allows for exceptions based on essential services as established by the Department of Homeland Security. These essential services include healthcare, grocery stores, banking and financial services, utilities, child care for essential service employees, and government services. “Social distancing is our best tool in the fight against COVID-19, and the actions we have taken thus far have proven to be effective in limiting the spread of this virus,” Gov. Abbott said in a press release today.

Having all students learn from home is a newer concept for our organization, however, we are committed to providing environments where our students thrive, read and excel.”

— Austin Independent School District

“Now it is time to redouble our efforts to reduce further exposure as much as possible and flatten the curve. As with all the actions the state is taking, the Essential Services and Activities Protocols is informed by the expertise and guidance of the CDC as well as state and local health officials. I urge my fellow Texans to heed these heightened social distancing directives to protect their health and the health of those around them. By following these guidelines, we will limit the spread of COVID-19 and overcome this challenge together.”

In its own press release today, the Austin Independent School District extended the closure of its campuses in compliance with the governor’s executive order.

Austin ISD will of course, follow the executive order, as our campuses will remain closed at least until [May 4].

In the release, the district suggests that is making plans based on the possibility that campuses will not reopen at all during the spring semester.

“While today’s announcement means the educational setting will continue to look different for several more weeks, we want our students, families and staff to know learning will continue,” the press release reads. “Having all students learn from home is a newer concept for our organization, however, we are committed to providing environments where our students thrive, read and excel.”

The district promised to communicate changes to the plan quickly and to maintain essential services it provides to students beyond the classroom. They said all decision are based on one central priority.

“The health and safety of our students and staff will remain core to our decisions in this rapidly changing and unique situation.”