LONGVIEW ISD

Longview ISD is aware of Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order to remove the mask mandate starting next Wednesday, March 10. The district looks forward to continued guidance from federal, state, and local authorities regarding how this will impact public schools. However, for the time being, face coverings and other preventative measures will continue to be required at Longview ISD campuses and facilities.

 Our administration is currently discussing this matter internally and will release additional information in response to this announcement in the coming days.

TEXAS AMERICAN FEDERATION OF TEACHERS

Gov. Abbott’s callous orders could throw schools into chaos

Texas AFT President Zeph Capo commented today on the governor’s new orders lifting most mandates for masks and business capacity. Note: Texas AFT may comment further if more details arrive on the impact on schools.

Abbott’s callous new orders throw our public schools, students, and teachers into chaos, because it leaves open the question of whether masks will be required in all schools. TEA guidance currently says: “Schools are required to comply with the governor’s executive order regarding the wearing of masks.” Meanwhile, Abbott’s new order reads: “Public schools may operate as provided by, and under the minimum standard health protocols found in guidance issued by the Texas Education Agency.”

Abbott has shirked his responsibility to stick with medical advice and clarify what needs to happen to keep our schools safe. Every top health official has stressed that even with vaccinations we need to keep using the most simple tools to stop the spread. So what does Abbot do? He rejects the most effective tool we have–masks. We have been warned by medical experts that uncontrolled viral outbreaks could lead to vaccine-resistant strains. This politically motivated policy decision coupled with the sheer size of Texas could very well send us back to square one in the fight to control COVID-19. We aren’t just jeopardizing Texas, but potentially putting the entire planet at risk.

TEXAS STATE TEACHERS ASSOCIATION (TSTA)

Don’t let your guard down, governor. Educators and voters still want safe schools and vaccine priority for school employees

Texas State Teachers Association President Ovidia Molina released the following statement on Gov. Abbott’s remarks:

Like Gov. Abbott, we believe we are making progress against the COVID-19 pandemic, but we are not there yet. Far from it. The COVID numbers have been coming down, but there were still 1,637 new confirmed cases of COVID in Texas yesterday and 59 deaths. More than 5,600 COVID patients were in Texas hospitals, and much is still unknown about the more-infectious variants of the deadly virus that have started striking our state.

Gov. Abbott needs to quit obeying his political impulses and listen to the health experts, who are warning that it is too soon to let our guard down without risking potentially disastrous consequences. The experts caution us to continue the safety practices that have worked against this disease, including widespread mask use and social distancing.

The Texas State Teachers Association urges the governor to keep his mask mandate in place, especially in our public schools, and see that it is enforced. We also repeat our call for the governor to give teachers and other school employees priority for the COVID vaccine.

A third COVID vaccine has won government approval, but so far fewer than seven in 100 Texans have been fully vaccinated against the disease, and very few of them are educators.

Texans want to see all their public schools reopened, but they want to see them reopened safely. That includes continued safety practices, including mask use, and vaccines for educators.

An overwhelming majority of Texas voters (81 percent), believe teachers should be given priority for vaccines, according to a bipartisan poll commissioned by TSTA and released this week. That strong level of support represents all demographic and partisan groups.

More vaccines are on the way, and voters believe Gov. Abbott must reserve some for educators.