Gov. Abbott’s callous orders could throw schools into chaos

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 2, 2021
CONTACT: Rob D’Amico, 512-627-1343, rdamico@texasaft.org

Texas AFT President Zeph Capo commented today on the governor’s new orders lifting most mandates for masks and business capacity. Note: Texas AFT may comment further if more details arrive on the impact on schools.

Abbott’s callous new orders throw our public schools, students, and teachers into chaos, because it leaves open the question of whether masks will be required in all schools. TEA guidance currently says: “Schools are required to comply with the governor’s executive order regarding the wearing of masks.” Meanwhile, Abbott’s new order reads: “Public schools may operate as provided by, and under the minimum standard health protocols found in guidance issued by the Texas Education Agency.”

Abbott has shirked his responsibility to stick with medical advice and clarify what needs to happen to keep our schools safe. Every top health official has stressed that even with vaccinations we need to keep using the most simple tools to stop the spread. So what does Abbott do? He rejects the most effective tool we have–masks. We have been warned by medical experts that uncontrolled viral outbreaks could lead to vaccine-resistant strains. This politically motivated policy decision coupled with the sheer size of Texas could very well send us back to square one in the fight to control COVID-19. We aren’t just jeopardizing Texas, but potentially putting the entire planet at risk.

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