Another blunder by Gov. Abbott: Rushing to lift mask requirements in schools

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 18, 2021

CONTACT: Rob D’Amico, 512-627-1343, rdamico@texasaft.org

Texas AFT President Zeph Capo commented today on Gov. Abbott’s orders not allowing schools to require masks: 

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. 

The governor’s new verdict takes a blanket approach to addressing what is still extremely dangerous for some Texans—a return to school unmasked. Abbott also is dismissing the need for safety with summer school sessions.

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.

TEA guidance has stated that masks should be worn in school, but since spring it has allowed local districts to make decisions on mask requirements. Local districts should gauge their situations with COVID-19 metrics and do assessments at each grade level when making these decisions, instead of following a statewide mandate that doesn’t fit what’s needed to keep their students, parents, teachers, and their communities safe. 

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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