Updated Guidance for Open Child Care Programs
Given recent updated recommendations from the CDC and Dr. Mark Escott, Interim Austin-Travis County Health Authority, Austin Public Health (APH) has revised the guidance document for local child care programs. The updated guidance, “State Law Requirements and City of Austin/Travis County Recommendations for Open Child Care Programs,” is posted on the City’s COVID-19 web page for child care providers. Because child care programs serve children who are not yet eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, the updated guidance contains detailed recommendations for programs regarding the use of face masks indoors and outdoors.
Upon learning of any case(s) of COVID-19 among children or adults in a program, programs are still required to report the case(s) to APH and child care regulation and notify staff and parents while maintaining the confidentiality of affected persons. Programs needing to contact the APH nurse line to report COVID-19 cases or to ask COVID-related questions should email ChildCareInfo@austintexas.gov for the fastest services, due to wait times when calling in to the nurse line. Nurse line staff monitor the email and will call you back if requested.
Masking Recommended in Austin-Travis County
The Health Authority Rules released on May 18, following updated CDC guidance, have been turned to recommendations (see Health Authority Rules Withdrawal Notice) rather than requirements following GA 36, which prohibits governmental entities and public health authorities from requiring face coverings.
The Austin-Travis County Health Authority recommends that those who are partially vaccinated or unvaccinated are recommended to continue masking in most situations. An individual is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after completing the full course of their COVID-19 vaccination regimen. Pfizer and Moderna require two doses and Johnson & Johnson requires one dose.
According to Dr. Mark Escott, Interim Austin-Travis County Health Authority, “Masks still play an important role in further reducing the spread of COVID-19 and will remain a recommended practice for those who are not fully vaccinated, at least until we reach herd immunity.”
To reach herd immunity, Austin Public Health is aiming for 70% of the population to be fully vaccinated. Based on state data, Travis County is currently at 62.14% of those 12+ partially vaccinated and 49.42% fully vaccinated.
“While the pandemic is not over, the Austin-Travis County area is at a lower level of risk than the rest of the state because so many of you chose higher measures of protection to keep you, your family, and those around you safe from COVID,” Interim APH Director Adrienne Sturrup said. “We want our community to be COVID wise – getting vaccinated, wearing a mask, and maintaining social distancing provides the highest level of protection from COVID-19.”
The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are currently authorized for those aged 18 and up. The Pfizer vaccine is currently authorized for those aged 12 and up. Individuals can receive the Moderna vaccine through APH or find additional vaccine providers in your area at Vaccines.gov.
For COVID-19 information and updates, visit www.AustinTexas.gov/COVID19.
Recommendations for fully vaccinated individuals are as follows:
- Resume normal activities without wearing a mask, except when required by a business
- Resume domestic travel without testing and quarantine before or after travel
- Resume international travel without testing, unless required by the destination, and refrain from quarantine after arriving back in the United States
- Refrain from testing and quarantine following a known exposure, unless you develop symptoms
As a reminder, if you are in need of health and safety supplies, please complete this form and we will do all we can to try to help meet your supply needs. Please note, this form link remains available for you to fill out any time (not just when you receive email updates from us)!
Thank you for all you do for children and families!