WACO, Texas — Waco ISD is one of many Central Texas school districts now enforcing a mask mandate for all students, staff, and visitors. Most teachers are thankful for the new requirement.
“I am going to do whatever it takes to keep my students and our staff safe,” Mia Guilen, a 5th-grade teacher at Crestview Elementary, said.
Last week, Waco ISD went against Governor Abbott's Executive Order which bans mask mandates in schools.
Mia Guilen along with Ashley Smith, both Waco ISD teachers who believe the new mask mandate for local schools is a good thing for both staff and students.
“I am very thankful that we are going back to wearing masks. I mean having 20 plus kids in a room who can’t be vaccinated and don’t really have any barrier to this disease is scary,” Ashley Smith, a 3rd-grade teacher at Provident Heights Elementary said.
The mask mandate was enforced during Waco’s second week of school as a way to further prevent the spread of the Delta variant, and according to teachers, students easily complied.
“We didn’t skip a beat, they just all came in and had their masks on and it is not a problem,” Guilen said.
“Probably 75% of my kids wore their masks last week when we didn’t even have to,” Smith said.
According to Waco-Mclennan County Health District, at the start of the 2020 school year, only 8% of overall cases were children younger than 17. This year, 24% of cases include children younger than 17.
“Some students don’t see things much differently other than, I have to wear a mask and then we have some students who have been forever changed by this,” Smith said.
But, as cases continue to climb, teachers are still thankful that they can have their students back in the classroom and can continue teaching in a safe way.
“I am looking forward to seeing the kids grow and just having them all back here.”
“Seeing them adapt and be resilient, has made my life, I mean, it fills me with so much joy.”