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Masks will be mandatory in Texas schools when they reopen this fall

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AUSTIN, Texas -- Masks for students and teachers will be mandatory in counties with more than 20 reported Covid-19 cases when public schools resume in-person classes this fall, under new public health guidelines released by Texas state education officials late Tuesday afternoon.

School districts must offer daily on-campus instruction for all students who want it, but any parent may request that their child be offered virtual instruction from any school district that offers it, under the guidelines issued by the the Texas Education Agency.

The final guidance has been modified from a draft that the agency accidentally posted last month that included few safety mandates for school districts, consistent with Gov. Greg Abbott's hands-off approach to the pandemic at the time.

Since then, as cases have risen, Abbott has shut down some businesses and issued an executive order requiring people living in counties with more than 20 active coronavirus cases to wear masks while in buildings open to the public or outdoor public spaces, wherever social distancing is not possible.

"Consistent with the executive order, masks are required in schools for the duration of the executive order," education Commissioner Mike Morath told superintendents on a phone call Tuesday. "It's likely the executive order will be modified over time. As it does, our guidance will be modified."

Abbott's order does not apply to children younger than 10 years old. School districts in counties with 20 or fewer cases can mandate that students and staff wear masks but do not have to, Morath said.

In El Paso, an order being prepared by City-County Health Authority Dr. Hector Ocaranza will go further than the state directives. It will require masks for any children above the age of two. It also delays the start of any in-person classes until at least Sept. 8.

Teachers, who may be more susceptible than students to Covid-19, were concerned upon hearing last month that state leaders considered it safe to return to school. Earlier Tuesday, the Texas State Teachers Association put out a statement asking Abbott to "slow down and put safety first" before reopening campuses this fall.

After the final guidelines were announced, the teachers association said they don't go far enough. "Children younger than 10 will still be exempted from wearing masks in schools. Teachers of those children should be able to decide whether they want their students to wear masks," said Clay Robison, spokesperson for TSTA. "Teachers who fear they will compromise their health by returning to campus should have the choice of teaching remotely, and it doesn't look like TEA guidelines will require that."

And the Association of Texas Professional Educators released a statement criticizing the TEA for not providing "more explicit guidance" or including educators and parents in the decision-making process.

The guidance released Tuesday requires school employees to "meet the work expectations set by their employers" but does not include many specifics for at-risk teachers who may not feel safe going into schools.

Coronavirus / Health / News / Texas / Top Stories

Texas Tribune

KVIA ABC-7

Comments

40 Comments

    1. Aren’t you the moron that said Texas had no back to school COVID-19 plan? See you are stupid and misinformed. It’s better than nothing. What can go wrong with the kids wearing face masks? It’s the cure all to COVID-19.

  1. Great. Now teachers will be responsible for kids wearing masks. Another job on top of making kids pay attention to class lessons and trying to control the unruly ones. How about kids bringing fake doctor’s orders saying they can’t wear masks. Next, parents who say Covid19 is a hoax will sue the school districts claiming a violation of Constitutional rights. Blackboard Jungle will look like a picnic in the park compared to what schools will look like once school starts. See how many teachers quit.

  2. Kids are smarter than the grownups sometimes. They’re pretty well smart enough to realize the importance of wearing a mask in a pandemic. Teachers are more than capable of handling it. Teachers have become very resourceful, especially during Republican administrations who are for the most part anti-education and do little in the way of budgeting to help teachers.

      1. Are you bragging or complainig? What kind of garbage did you fill kids minds with. If your love for a racist, ignorant, pussy grabbing idiot is what you stand for. I can only imagine what rot your lesson plans were full of. Teacher? No. More of a hate and intolerance purveyor than an educator. Poor kids.

        1. I wasn’t bragging or complaining. Just makin a simple statement to once again prove markturner wrong. I’m a patriot that supports our country and our President. I show up to work everyday enthusiastically and I take care of my teachers and my students. I don’t care what the hate in your heart leads you to believe.

          1. First you’ll never prove me wrong since I’m on the right side of history and you and your Nazi ilk are on the wrong side. Second, if you were a pstriot as you claim, then you would never support the anti-American policies of an anti-American President.

          2. Markturner is on the leftist side of history. You have already crashed and burned. You are always wrong. You are just too stupid to realize it.

      2. As a proud American who can think for himself and not follow a cult leader blindly (45), I would like to say to original maga Gaga that we dont care if you are Republican or were an educator before Brown v. Board of Education. You are an old condescending hateful old man and and I imagine are extremely unpleasant to be around.

        1. Shame is being a card toting and lifelong member of the Communist Party of America aka Democrat Party. Markturner aka Alberto proud member of the Communist Party. Now crawl back to Venezuela.

  3. Speaking of school. Your moronic president paid someone to take the SAT test. His own Niece stated as much. Told you he was a liar and a phony. Now you heard it from a direct source, not from CNN. Go ahead and spin this to make excuses for Daddy Trump the Dunce.

  4. A patriot is more than just blindly honoring the position of the presidency of the USA. It is also about holding our president accountable for actions that run counter to Democratic principles and the rule of law that our country has always stood for. Right wingers throw that word around a lot to justify racism, intolerance and ultra nationalistic nativism like only they can. That will not stand come November 2020 when we have a real President on Mr Biden not a money grabbing, opportunist who uses the power of the presidency for his own personal gains.

    1. I don’t blindly follow anyone. I believe in the work that he is doing. He is restoring our country to greatness that Obama destroyed. He puts AMERICA and AMERICANS first. He has nothing to gain by being President. He had it made in the private sector. He did not need to sign up for the abuse that he takes. He does it for America. He doesn’t take a paycheck. We needed a non politician to come in and drain the swamp and that is exactly what he is doing.

      1. He’s destroying the country and doing nothing but spreading hate and racism. The United States is now the outcast nation. He’s done nothing about health care, climate change, immigration reform, or trade policies related to the global economy. He’s bungled the virus control effort, and even denies its going on. He’s never done anything to come up with a uniform national response to the virus. He lies continually and has no clue whatever is going on in the world. He won’t even read the daily presidential briefing. He’s a danger to the national security. He’s never run a successgul business and most of his hotel operations are on a cash only basis with vendors. He’s bankrupted every business venture he’s ever been involved in. The man is a buffoon.

        1. Health care reform is being derailed by RINO’s and never Trumpers. Climate change is a hoax (you obviously didn’t read the article that I posted for you the other day). He’s building the wall and deporting Illegals. immigration reform isn’t the answer, actually enforcing th current laws is a start. His trade policy were working until the plandemic that the liberals are aying for suddenly popped up. He is handling the virus just fine. It’s the MSM who are pumping up the numbers and using fear tactics based on psychological warfare to scare Americans into submission. There’s the science behind it. How is national security threated? He rebuilt the army that Obama destroyed. The iron was hot for an attack while we were all locked up in our homes or distracted by riots on the streets and yet no country bothered. Why, because they know if they try, he will blow them off the face of the earth. The TRUE national security threat is from the sleeper cells within the country that Obama birthed. EVERYTHING you mentioned has nothing to do with what’s best for AMERICA but what’s best for every other country than America.

          1. You just listed every reason the orange buffoon will be gone on November 3. When you state that global warming is hoax it shows that you’re a moron like the orange buffoon.

          2. I posted an article just for you earlier this week. It was from a climate research center that has tons of data and research that disproves most of the climate change theories. Not my fault you refuse to read what you don’t understand.

        2. Uniform national response to the virus? That’s because the Democrap Governors don’t want it or won’t cooperate. Blame them. BTW – Other than upsetting your other schizo aliases you are preaching to the choir. Your rants are meaningless here.

      2. Obama saved us from the Republican recession of 2008. He saved the auto companies. He did fail on healthcare because he caved to the insurance companies but all in all he brought dignity to the office. Now we have this uneducated idiot endangering the national security and our enemies laughing at us.

        1. Wrong idiot. Obama is the worst President in U.S. history. He didn’t do jack for this country except fundamentally turn it into a third world country. President Trump has been undoing his mess. President Trump beat ISIS. ISIS beat Obama. Plus his Obamacare is a total failure. So what is his legacy? NADA!!!

  5. Yeah the orange buffoon is a patriot. When his buddy Vladimir Putin was paying the Taliban to kill our soldiers and he was briefed about it, he tried to cover up for Putin. The orange buffoon is a criminal and a traitor on top of being a complete idiot.

        1. Wrong again as usual. Nope back in 2014 under your buddy Obama. Stop watching fake news. BTW – Even Democrap Adam Schiff complained he was never briefed about it and he is the Chairman of a House Intelligence Committee.

          1. Feo you are an uninformed nitwit. First time this report came out was in February 2018 when American and Syrian troops came under fire and killed a bunch of Russian mercenaries working for a Russian oligarch. Putin retaliated by offering bounties for American troops in Afghanistan. What is not cleared is how many casualties were because of Putin’s bounty.

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