CALDWELL, TEXAS — More than 30 state lawmakers are asking Governor Greg Abbott to change his mind and allow schools to reinstate mask mandates and virtual learning.
The battle at the state capitol happening at the same time the CDC recommends masks in school amid a new surge in COVID-19 cases.
The school year hasn't even started yet, and Caldwell ISD already has more teachers who've tested positive for COVID-19 than this time last year.
"All five of mine that have COVID-19 right now, are unvaccinated right now," Andrew Peters, superintendent, Caldwell ISD shared with KRHD 25 News.
Superintendent Peters says less than half his staff are vaccinated, but the school district does not require them to do so.
"I feel very responsible for 2,000 lives every day to come to my school buildings and I want to protect them. I also don't want to overreact, but right now the numbers are causing me concern," Peters said.
Rosa Leyva, a parent who also works for Caldwell ISD, is still ok sending her kids back for the new school year.
"I feel my children are safe. I feel safe coming to work," Leyva said.
"I would still recommend masks while we're in school. Especially in crowded rooms to really put a barrier of protection aside from that, there's not a whole lot we can do," Tracy Ayers, district nurse of Caldwell ISD said.
With an executive order banning government entities -including public schools- from mandating masks and no option for virtual learning, the school district feels their hands are tied.
"The Governor needs to stay out of it and let local school boards make decisions for the local communities," Peters said.
That is why State Rep Richard Raymond and 31 other lawmakers are asking Governor Greg Abbott to give school districts the choice.
"We can't give children the vaccine because they are too young. What we do know is, the masks which is essentially the vaccine, we can give to children and it does work," Representative Raymond shared.
"I really wish that there were at least some guidelines 'well if this happens, we are going to do this," Peters added.
In the meantime, Peters says the district has its own plan, which includes closing down if COVID-19 cases in the district exceed 5 percent.
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