Governor issues order to prohibit school districts from requiring masks

Gov. Greg Abbott

This past Tuesday, Gov. Greg Abbott issued an order prohibiting schools and most other public institutions from requiring masks after June 4. While Texas AFT believes that districts should be constantly monitoring local COVID-19 metrics to see if safety protocols need to be updated, the governor’s decision was hasty and lacks consideration of local circumstances.

“While vaccinations have provided a foundation for safe returns to school, we still aren’t at a point when kids under 12 can be vaccinated, so it is unconscionable for the governor to make this decision now,” said Texas AFT President Zeph Capo. “CDC guidance still states that all students and staff should wear masks, and Gov. Abbott shouldn’t confuse the situation and ignore science unless CDC guidelines change.”

Pfizer’s trials on children 2-12 could be complete as early as September, which also could change safety protocols. Many districts, following new CDC guidance, already had relaxed mask and social distancing rules for outside activities at school. Abbott’s order left school boards across the state scrambling to meet and change mask requirements.

Read the full statement from Zeph Capo.

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