BRAZOS VALLEY, TX — The Texas Education Agency, or TEA, is providing guidance to schools across Texas after Gov. Greg Abbott announced March 2, to lift the mask mandate, leaving school districts, and parents, unclear of what’s next,
Superintendent for Caldwell ISD, Andrew Peters, shares, he has been in close contact with colleagues and there is a lot to unpack. Sharing with 25 News, he plans to move strategically and effectively in the decisions, he will make going forward.
“There’s a lot of issues that superintendents and school administrators have to look at,” Peters said.
The TEA has now announced that their mask practices will not be changed, but will leave it up to the local school boards to consult their local health authorities before making any changes to their guidance.
Peters shared, that most public schools in the Brazos Valley have not canceled spring break this year, so he expects cases and numbers to fluctuate.
“Statewide, we all wish that the governor would have waited and made it more clear,” he added.
As of right now, Caldwell ISD will continue to require students to wear masks, but Superintendent Peters says, there is room to continue analyzing the numbers as the year comes to a close.
”I think we can loosen some things with the masks," said Peters. "I think we can. We just got to do it strategically, and in a manner that makes the most sense,”
Superintendent Peters hopes by graduation, students will no longer need to wear masks, but says, to keep them close by, as he predicts things can change quickly.
Peters is remaining optimistic, yet cautious, to help ensure his staff's safety as well as his respected students. School districts are still struggling to find substitute teachers, if things take a turn for the worst, this can cause schools to return to remote learning as they just transitioned back to the classroom.
Parents like Taylor are happy though to see the mask mandate lifted. However, she fears this will cause confusion for her son as he is accustomed to wearing his mask at school, but says, to each their own.
”If you’re compromised, you have you know medical issues that are going to make you susceptible to getting the virus, obviously those people should wear it,” said Taylor Leonard, a parent for eliminating the mask mandate.
Meanwhile, other parents believe they will continue to encourage their children to wear their masks in order to be safe, rather than sorry.
”My children will continue to wear their masks, just so our family, you know, is doing our part to not only protect ourselves but other people as well,” Candice Lister, a parent for keeping the mask mandate.
Some parents though, that are also educators, shared a unique perspective. Chella Gordon, whose family members may be immune-compromised, believes, in staying strong and finishing the year strong as well.
”I think we taught them it’s about taking care of your neighbor," shared Gordon, a librarian at Caldwell and a parent for keeping the mask mandate. "Taking care of your neighbor and we want to have a successful finish to this year,”
The executive order by Governor Abbott does not take into effect until March 10.
Parents, however, are anxiously awaiting to hear from their local school boards. Even right now, as effective immediately, all school staff are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.