AISD to still require masks for rest of year, graduation following CDC announcement

Education

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Austin Independent School District said they’ll still require masks through the remainder of the school year and at graduation ceremonies, despite updated guidelines from the federal government.

AISD tweeted its position after the Center for Disease Control and Prevention made an announcement Thursday that fully vaccinated people can ditch masks indoors and outdoors in most settings.

AISD said that most students weren’t eligible to be vaccinated until the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted emergency use approval for the Pfizer vaccine to be used on kids as young as 12 years old. They also “have no way to verify vaccination statuses,” so they decided to keep masking in place.

“At this time, we will evaluate the CDC’s new guidance and how that might impact our policies for the summer classes and the 2021-2022 school year as we continue to increase our vaccine efforts and devise a system to verify whether individuals are vaccinated,” AISD’s tweet thread concluded.

AISD has held pop-up clinics for students, families and staff to get vaccinated when the Pfizer vaccine was approved for those 16 years or older. Now with the age limit lowered, officials told KXAN they’ll work to make the vaccine available to those students and their families.

Imelda Garcia, an associate commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services, said in a news conference Thursday the state “has no intention” of including the COVID-19 vaccine in the group of required vaccines to attend public schools.

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