The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new guidelines earlier this week, as COVID-19 cases continue to increase in Texas and around the country. The agency recommends that teachers and students wear face masks when they return to school this fall.
In Texas, school administrators can ask for masks to be worn in their facilities, but they can’t require it. That’s because of an executive order signed by Gov. Greg Abbott, which prevents government entities like schools from requiring masks.
Ovidia Molina, president of the Texas State Teachers Association, wants the governor to reverse that order. On Tuesday she publicly called on him to do so.
“We are having more kids in the classrooms, we’re having them interact with more students. And those people are going to then interact with the community. And so we’re asking to take every precaution possible,” Molina told Texas Standard.
The COVID-19 vaccines are not yet being administered to children under the age of 12.
Some districts may provide remote learning to lessen the number of kids in classrooms. But as opposed to the most recent school year, districts won’t receive state funding for remote learning this time around, since the Legislature failed to pass a bill to finance it. Some schools and districts are offering their own remote learning options, however.
“Our school districts are going to have to scramble. And if they have the money … then they can have [remote learning], which means that not all of our students are going to have that available to them, not all of the families are going to have that available. So it’s, again, if you have the means, you are going to be safe,” Molina said.