Gov. Abbott closes Texas schools until May 4, as part of new executive order

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced on Tuesday that all Texas schools will remain closed until May 4.

The announcement came along with an essential services order, which read in part: "In accordance with the Guidelines from the President and the CDC, schools shall remain temporarily closed to in-person classroom attendance and shall not recommence before May 4, 2020."

RELATED: How COVID-19 is affecting local schools

The executive order would also require anyone who is not considered an essential critical infrastructure worker to stay home.

READ MORE: Governor Abbott issues essential services order for Texas

Everyone who lives or works within the state of Texas will only be able to leave their homes for essential activity, essential business, essential government functions and critical care functions.

What are the essential jobs that operate during a stay-at-home order?

According to the federal government, "there are 16 critical infrastructure sectors whose assets, systems, and networks, whether physical or virtual, are considered so vital to the United States that their incapacitation or destruction would have a debilitating effect on security, national economic security, national public health or safety, or any combination thereof."

Presidential Policy Directive 21 (PPD-21) identifies the following as the 16 critical infrastructure sectors:

 •  Chemical  •  Commercial Facilities  •  Communications  •  Critical Manufacturing  •  Dams & Public Works  •  Defense Industrial Base  •  Emergency Services  •  Energy  •  Financial Services  •  Food and Agriculture  •  Government Facilities  •  Healthcare and Public Health  •  Information Technology  •  Nuclear Reactors, Materials, and Waste  •  Transportation Systems  •  Water and Wastewater Systems

The governor did not issue a statewide shelter-in-place, but rather extended social distancing measures, which will remain in effect through April 30.

“Shelter-in-place is not a good term to use for any of these strategies that have been articulated by anybody. Similarly, this is not a stay-at-home strategy," Abbott said. "A stay-at-home strategy would mean that you have to stay at home. You cannot leave under any circumstances. That obviously is not what we have articulated here."

The news came just minutes before Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo announced she was extending her Stay Home-Work Safe order through April 30.

MORE: Stay Home - Work Safe order for Harris County, Houston extended to April 30

Both the state and local orders follow the federal recommendations. 

Following Gov. Abbott's executive order has prompted several greater Houston area schools to make their own announcements extending their closures through the beginning of May.