AUSTIN (KXAN) — Masks are now optional for all students, staff and visitors in the Eanes Independent School District, according to an announcement on the district’s website Tuesday.

The district said masks are still “strongly encouraged” for those in elementary and middle schools, until the vaccine is more readily available for younger children.

Eanes ISD said it will still be keeping an eye on local COVID-19 data and guidance from health officials to determine if the mask mandate will need to be reimplemented in the future.

This comes as concerns are being raised about the newly-discovered omicron variant of the virus.

“We recognize the concern of a new variant but we also acknowledge there may never be a perfect time to fully remove the mask mandate; the possibility of new variants may persist for the foreseeable future,” the district said.

Eanes ISD is strongly encouraging those in the community to get vaccinated, as it is “one line of defense.”