Despite Texas Governor Greg Abbott announcing that he will lift statewide COVID restrictions starting this Wednesday, several Texas colleges will still require students to wear face masks.
A total of 11 Texas A&M System institutions including Austin Community College, Baylor University, Texas A&M University, the University of Houston, and the University of Texas (UT) at Austin have announced they will not end coronavirus restrictions, including the requirement that people on campus wear masks, despite the governor’s latest move.
Texas A&M will continue following @tamusystem COVID-19 protocols first announced in Oct. 2020 on testing, face coverings, physical distancing, occupancy limits, co-curricular activities, and more: https://t.co/hrvycq8srU pic.twitter.com/A9an5q1EG4
— Texas A&M University (@TAMU) March 5, 2021
The schools’ decisions came just after Houston became the first city in the nation to record cases of all major COVID variants. Even local leaders have been vocal critics of Abbot’s decision, saying the move is premature and may cause greater loss of life.
In a statement to the UT Austin community, President Jay Hartzell said the mask mandate will continue, keeping in mind recent guidance from the Texas Education Agency.
Talking about the school’s COVID guidelines, Hartzell said, these “policies — including requiring masks in our buildings, classrooms and labs — will remain in place.”
Based on local conditions, the 11 schools are yet to determine what guidance will follow after the spring semester. Other colleges and universities in the state still have to announce updated COVID guidelines in response to Abbott’s announcement.