MCLENNAN COUNTY, Texas- As school districts develop plans for the upcoming school year, the Waco-McLennan County Public Health District’s latest order pushes on-campus instruction back to September 8th.
District public health authorities say if they open sooner for on campus instruction, multiple students and staff will arrive at campuses already infected with COVID-19.
“There is a concern that as school starts up again that this will cause an increase spread and even tax more on our McLennan county resources including the hospitals, physicians and just cause more wide spread illness,” said Kelly Craine, the health district’s spokesperson.
But this order forces parents like Kelsey Barron who’s also a fulltime college student to make some pretty touch decisions.
“I don’t know what I’m going to do. I don’t know if I should risk my fourth semester in school to stay home with them or what to do about it because my parents work, my family members work,” Barron tells Fox 44.
According to the order, administrators teachers and staff are free to conduct online learning courses from campus before September 8th but those who chose to will be required by the health department to wear face masks at all times.
In addition to on-campus courses being postponed, all school-sponsored events and activities inluding clubs, sports and fairs are banned until on-campus instruction resumes.
As a part of that order, the public health department put a 1-month deadline on public and private school districts to develop a written plan for resuming on-campus instruction and extra-curricular activities.
Those plans are to be submitted to the health department, parents, and the general public no later that August 21st.
The health district released a statement about their order that reads in part:
“I believe these control measures are necessary to protect the public health based on the higher risk for spread of COVID-19 in schools due to the necessity of large groups gathering and the difficulty for some children to follow social distancing and hygiene guidelines. “Dr. Verner
Parents living in the county we spoke with say they are not happy with the new order.
“I’m against it. I wouldn’t say firmly against it I would prefer it if my kids were going to school. I don’t see the sense in waiting an extra 2 weeks,” one parents said.
Other parents say they see the benefit of delaying the return to classrooms but weighing it against what it costs students and families, they believe it harms students more than it helps them.
“I understand that everyones trying to be safe and careful but in a way the kids are suffering from it and they shouldnt be,” another parent told FOX 44.