The Travis County Health Authority orders no in-class instructions or extracurricular sports/activities in Travis County until after Labor Day. We’ve all been contemplating and the worry-fatigue, decision-fatigue, and not knowing what to do-fatigue has been REAL.
On Tuesday, Austin-Travis County Interim Health Authority Dr. Mark Escott ordered all school districts and private schools in the county to delay reopening on-campus instruction.
The emergency order was issued in response to a growing number of COVID-19 cases in the region and is effective immediately.
TO: ALL INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICTS AND PRIVATE
SCHOOLS OPERATING IN TRAVIS COUNTY
FROM: Mark E. Escott, MD, MPH, Interim Health Authority, City of
Re: Order of Control Measures for In-Person School Campus Instruction
WHEREAS, the situation regarding COVID-19 in Travis County, Texas is rapidly
evolving with observed rapid rate of transmission through community spread as
demonstrated by a sharp increase in new cases and increased hospitalizations and ICU
WHEREAS, the Texas Education Agency (“TEA”) does not have general authority
to close schools due to public health, and TEA acknowledges that such authority lies with
the local heath authority, the Department of State Health Services, and the Governor.
WHEREAS, data indicates that if schools open for on-campus instruction on the
currently scheduled date multiple students and staff will arrive at the campus already
infected with COVID-19.
Therefore, due to the current evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic in Travis
County, and pursuant to Texas Health & Safety Code §§ 81.082 and 81.084, Dr. Mark E.
Escott, the Interim Medical Director and Health Authority for Austin/Travis County,
hereby issues this Order imposing specified control measures and restrictions on all public
and private schools offering instruction to students in one or more grades, pre-kindergarten through grade 12 in Travis County, as well as any independent school district within Travis County (hereinafter “school systems”). The following restrictions are effective as of the
execution of this Order:
• School systems shall not re-open schools for on-campus, face-to-face
instruction until after September 7, 2020;
• Virtual instruction shall be permitted as per a school system’s own plan;
• Extracurricular sports and activities shall not take place until school systems
re-open for on-campus instruction;
• At least two weeks prior to re-opening for on-campus instruction and on-
campus activities, the school or district shall develop a plan to be submitted to the Austin/Travis County Health Authority for re-opening on-campus activities and instruction and make the plan available for parents and general public.
I believe this order includes appropriate control measures based on the higher risk
for spread of COVID-19 in schools due to the necessity of large groups gathering in
indoor spaces and the difficulty for children to follow social distancing and hygiene
guidelines. After consultation with appropriate stakeholders, direction and guidance
for re-opening schools for on-campus instruction will be issued prior to September
This order is issued under my authority as Medical Director for Austin Public Health
and Health Authority for the City of Austin and Travis County, on this the 14th day
of JULY, 2020.
Mark E. Escott, MD, MPH, FACEP, FAEMS
Interim Medical Director and Health Authority
City of Austin/Travis County
Physical address: 517 S. Pleasant Valley Rd. Austin, TX 78741
E-mail: [email protected]