State leadership continues misguided path on masks, while TEA announces disappointing guidelines for school districts


CONTACT: Rob D’Amico, 512-627-1343,

Texas AFT President Zeph Capo today commented on Gov. Greg Abbott’s dangerous stance on masks and the Texas Education Agency’s ill-advised new pandemic guidelines:

The governor is doubling down with dangerous calls for legislation in the new special session prohibiting required mask use in schools.  A majority of Texans view his conclusions as wrong-headed and his orders as counterproductive to public safety. 

Our members are writing letters urging the governor to use common sense and allow mask decisions to be made locally. As our survey of 7,384 members showed, 78% of public school employees favor local decisions on mask use—not the governor’s restrictive order. 

TEA is right in funding remote learning for students who are quarantining or recovering from COVID-19, but in total its new guidance is a lackluster approach to what is becoming a significant health risk with the spread of the Delta variant among children.

TEA is wrong in getting rid of “contact tracing” for COVID-19-positive students and staff. If we are thorough in reporting cases of lice, why can’t we do the same for COVID-19? At the very least, we need to continue rigorous assessments of how to respond to exposure to the virus, and that won’t happen if parents, students, and staff are left in the dark on transmissions on their campuses. We urge districts to also continue reporting positive cases and a breakdown by campus directly to all parents and posting them online.

Texas American Federation of Teachers represents some 66,000 teachers, paraprofessionals, support personnel, and higher-education employees across the state. Texas AFT is affiliated with the 1.7-million-member American Federation of Teachers and AFL-CIO. 


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