greg abbott texas
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.
Reuters/Lucas Jackson
  • Austin's school district will require masks across its buildings and property starting Wednesday.
  • It follows Dallas school district, which made announced yesterday it would look to implement its own mask mandate.
  • Both districts are directly defying Texas Gov. Abbott's May order banning mask mandates.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Austin Independent School District will require masks on its campuses and property starting Wednesday in defiance of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's May order barring school districts from implementing mask mandates, the Austin American-Statesman reported.

Superintendent Stephanie S. Elizalde made the announcement late Monday amid a surge in COVID-19 hospitalizations in North Texas.

"If I err, I must err on the side of ensuring that we have been overly cautious," she said in a board meeting Monday night, the Statesman reported. "Not that we have fallen short."

The city's health authority, Dr. Desmar Walkes, said to the board that youth COVID-19 cases and hospital admissions jumped from June to July, according to the report.

Parents, many of whom pressured district officials to challenge the governor's orders, also said they would support the district's decision to require masks if the state decided to push a legal or financial punishment, the Statesman reported.

Austin's decision follows the Dallas school district, which was the first district to go against the governor's order.

This story is developing. Please check back for updates.

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