AUSTIN, Texas - Governor Greg Abbott has reportedly told state lawmakers that Texas students will be returning to public schools in person for the fall. A spokesperson for the Texas Education Agency says that the Texas Education Commissioner has determined it will be safe for students to go back.
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Districts will reportedly not be required to mandate that students wear masks or require testing for COVID-19 symptoms, a spokesperson for the Texas Education Agency told the Texas Tribune. School districts will be able to also offer instructional alternatives for students.
“It will be safe for Texas public school students, teachers, and staff to return to school campuses for in-person instruction this fall," said Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath. "But there will also be flexibility for families with health concerns so that their children can be educated remotely if the parent so chooses."
The TEA is expected to release detailed guidance next week.
The decision comes as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to rise statewide, and local officials begin to put firmer restrictions in place to tamp down the spread in their cities and counties.
Austin Mayor Steve Adler recently joined eight other Texas mayors in asking the governor to allow them to set rules and regulations locally when it comes to face masks. The letter was signed by the mayors of Austin, Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, Fort Worth, Grand Prairie, Arlington, Plano, and El Paso this week.