Central Texas schools finalizing COVID-19 protocols

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WACO, Texas- The Delta variant is causing COVID- 19 cases to skyrocket before Central Texas students return to school.

Governor Greg Abbott’s Executive Order bans schools from requiring students and staff to wear mask, but some districts including Dallas and Austin are going against that.

Temple ISD Superintendent Dr. Bobby Ott says they will continue to be diligent of safety protocols like last year, and mask are required.

“I understand the rational behind why Dallas, Houston and Austin and some of the bigger districts are doing that,” Ott said. “I do know the enforcement of it doesn’t really have teeth, and I think that’s the piece that’s going to get challenged.”

Ott says masking is strongly encouraged for people that are not vaccinated, and they will continue to offer vaccination clinics throughout the year.

“Due to the rise in cases, and due to the success we had last year by following those contact tracing protocols, we’re going to keep those in place,” Ott said.

The Texas Education Agency says schools no longer have to let parents know of a positive case on campus.

Midway School District Communications Director Traci Marlin says they will continue to follow CDC guidelines, and work in partnership with the McLennan County Health District.

She says they will offer rapid testing on-site at all campuses, and host vaccine clinics.

“We want people who want to wear mask [to] feel comfortable wearing mask, we don’t want them to feel ostracized or anything,” Marlin said. “We want people to feel comfortable with whatever protocol that they need.”

Marlin says they will keep social distancing, hand sanitizing and utilize air purifies.

Waco ISD Chief of Staff Kyle DeBeer says their campuses will also continue similar protocols from last year.

“In compliance with the Governor’s Executive order mask will be voluntary,” DeBeer said. “We’re certainly encouraging wearing mask, and we think that most of students and most of our employees will do so.” 

DeBeer says they will also keep contact tracing apart of their health protocols letting families know of a positive case on campus.

“It’s on us as a community, as a school district to work together; students, families, staff members to keep everyone safe,” DeBeer said.

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