AUSTIN, Texas - Gov. Greg Abbott's public health disaster declaration has mandated the closure of more than 1,000 school districts in Texas, including charter schools, until April 3.
Even though students will not physically be able to enter campuses until then, schools in Texas still intend on providing the same services as before, including an education and, if necessary, a meal.
On Thursday, Abbott issued a public health disaster, the first in Texas since 1901. The executive orders, which take effect at midnight Friday, March 20 and go through midnight on Friday, April 3, will bring the state in line with CDC guidelines to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
In addition to schools being closed, the disaster also orders a ban on dine-in eating and gathering in groups of more than 10 as the state ramps up efforts to battle the coronavirus. Abbott's order also will shut down gyms and bars. It also bans visits to nursing and retirement homes unless there is a critical need.
"I think I'm it's hard to deal with it, but I'm glad that we've taken measures to contain the spread of it," said Maria Tello, who has a five-year-old son. She says her son's school was shut down after Abbott's decision. "At least, for now, they said it was gonna be two to three weeks, but I think we expect that it's probably gonna go on for the rest of the year."
Her son's school, along with others, were ordered to shut down, but not to stop teaching. Many schools around Travis County, like San Saba ISD, have been preparing to go online for some time now and are teaching kids via video chat.
"San Saba is up and running, and ready to educate kids for the long haul, and so officially, we're closed but instructing as of yesterday," said Superintendent Wayne Kelly.
Many schools are still deciding what they plan to do, but many eventually plan to follow suit and also go online.
Education is not the only thing schools plan to keep going. Multiple school districts around the Austin area are still going to be providing breakfast and lunch Monday through Friday to students. Some of those districts include:
- Austin ISD
- Hays CISD
- San Saba ISD
- Eanes ISD
- Round Rock ISD
- Pflugerville ISD
- Del Valle ISD
- Lake Travis ISD
- Manor ISD
Parents seeking to find out if their district is providing meals should check out the district's website.
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