Texas schools cannot request a COVID mask. Some Fort Worth parents are worried.

A few weeks before the Fort Worth school year begins, Alex Vorse has to deal with a difficult decision.

Hazel, daughter of Vorse, Dugget Montessori School.. Last year, Vorse maintained her home after the Fort Worth school allowed students to return directly. Hazel has an underlying condition that puts her at greater risk if infected with COVID-19 and is worried that she may be exposed to the virus at school, Bose said.

Distance learning seemed like the safest option, he said, and his daughter adopted it easily.

This year, Vorse may not have that option. Fort Worth school officials have no plans to offer distance learning options in the next academic year. This means that all students need to go back to school directly. District authorities are no longer able to enforce mask requirements this year. That is, Vorse does not guarantee that other students in her daughter’s class will be masked.

As a result, Vorse is in a difficult position. They are worried that sending Hazel directly to school without the obligation to mask would put her at risk. But if he pulls her away from school and leaves her at home, they will lose their seat in Daggett Montessori.

“It’s an impossible choice for parents in my position,” said Vorse. “My daughter has an underlying medical condition. A positive COVID case can mean hospitalization or even worse.”

Fort Worth students will return to school on August 16th. Due to the increasing number of cases of COVID-19 in Tarrant County, some parents are worried that teachers may send students back to classrooms where there are few tools to control the virus.

Fort Worth Schools Do Not Offer Remote Options

Vorse said Hazel’s teachers did a great job last year that made them feel like they were attending remote students. Each morning she led a conversation about the current event and other topics before moving on to the material the class covered that day. At the end of each week, Hazel and her classmates each announced the projects they worked on for the week.

“She just lit up with it,” he said.

Vorse wanted Hazel to have the option to continue distance learning this year, at least until the vaccine was approved by young children. However, the Texas State Council did not allocate funds to the district to continue the online learning program that started last year. Several districts including Austin When Round lockAnnounced that it will provide self-funded virtual learning options for students up to 6th grade. However, Fort Worth school officials say they expect to bring all students back directly on the first day of school.

District spokesman Clint Bond said Wednesday that the district had no plans Distance education next year..Like any other district in the state, this district Last year’s STAAR test score declined, At least in part, due to the academic influence of the pandemic. According to Bond, district planning to help students catch up requires teachers to keep in touch with students daily to ensure that they understand the curriculum.

Between Fort Worth School District Board At a meeting on July 27, Fort Worth coach Kent Scribbner said he was excited about students and parents returning directly to school.Returning to that school Supporting students who struggled last year to recover their studies, He said. But he acknowledged that the district must be “creative” in dealing with medically vulnerable students.

According to Bond, district managers are considering policies for parents of students in selected schools to make recommendations with fundamental conditions that increase risk.

Abbott’s orders prohibit Texas schools from requiring masks

Bond also said the district’s security protocol was effective enough last year that the district did not need it. Campus closed due to COVID-19 outbreak.. He said all these precautions would be implemented this year, with the exception of Maskmandate.

School officials continue to encourage students, teachers, staff and visitors to wear masks, according to Bond, but districts can no longer request masks. Governor Greg Abbott issues executive order May prohibiting school districts from enforcing mask obligations after June 4.

July 20, ABot told KPRC-TV, Houston’s NBC affiliate said he would not impose another mask mandate, despite the growing number of new incidents throughout Texas and across the country. Neither the government nor schools will force children to wear masks at school, according to Abbott, but parents may choose to have their children wear masks at school.Public health experts have said that for months The mask provides some protection for the wearer, Their main function is to keep others safe if the wearer is unknowingly infected.

Abbott also said he hopes more parents will bring their children to the vaccine before the start of the school year. However, children under the age of 12 are not yet eligible for the vaccine. Abbott spokeswoman Renae Ez did not answer the question when asked what advice the governor would give to parents of children who were not eligible for vaccination, but instead The governor said, “The time of the government was clear. The mandatory mask is over-it’s time for personal responsibility.”

“Vaccines are the most effective defense against COVID infection and serious illness. We continue to encourage all qualified Texas people to be vaccinated,” she said. “COVID vaccines are always voluntary and are not enforced in Texas.”

Eze did not respond when Star Telegram pointed out that the statement did not address the question of what parents of children under the age of 12 should do to keep their children safe at school.

Abbott’s orders violate the guidance issued by public health authorities last month. On July 19, the American Academy of Pediatrics released new guidance for grades 2021-22, recommending school masking for anyone over the age of two, regardless of vaccination status. On July 27, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also updated guidance recommending universal masking in schools, regardless of vaccination status.

State Democrats urged the governor to reconsider his position.

July 24, person in charge. Vikki Goodwin, Democrat of Travis County, And 31 other Texas Democrats wrote a letter calling on Abbott and Texas Board of Education Mike Moras to allow the school district to request masks from the school building. Parliamentarians also called on the governor and school board to allow the district to provide virtual guidance for students at high risk of contracting COVID-19.

Citing a highly contagious delta variant, lawmakers said last year that the district tried to slow the spread of the virus using a protective “Swiss cheese” model, each covering the gap left behind. He said he had combined several preventative measures. others.

“This year we are ready to offer something quite contrasting. In the face of an aggressive new breed of COVID-19, schools have been robbed of most of their tools,” he wrote. “As representatives of school districts and parents who are seriously concerned about returning their children to school in the current situation, to ensure the safety of the school community and the best possible education for Texas. Ask them to do the right thing for you Children. “

On July 27, Ovidia Molina, President of the Texas Teachers Association, called on Abbott to allow the school district to conduct mask mandates. Texas teachers are eager to get back to work, Molina said, but the pandemic remains a danger, especially as young students are not vaccinated.

“If Governor Abbott is really interested in the health and safety of Texas students, educators, and their communities, he offers local school officials and health professionals the option to request masks at school. “I will,” said Molina.

In the epidemic of Delta variants, parents are worried about COVID at school

During the school’s fiduciary meeting, Lark Wallis Johnston called on the board to find a solution for families at risk.

Wallis-Johnston told Star Telegram that her family was cautious during the pandemic because her husband had cancer and was receiving chemotherapy. During a group counseling session for children whose parents had cancer, the son weptly asked what would happen if he caught the virus at school and inadvertently brought it back to his father. Wallis-Johnston’s heart sank.

“I don’t have a good answer for you,” she told him. “But we will do everything we can to keep us safe.”

Wallis-Johnston asked the board to help her keep her promise. Many students in the district must be in school directly, she said. However, district officials need to keep in mind that most students in the district are not yet vaccinated, and if COVID-19 invades their home, one of those students and their families. She said the department would be at increased risk.

“If mask mandates aren’t available in all schools, then every vulnerable family must have a choice,” she said.

Daggett Montessori’s father, Wols, finds a solution to a problem where he has to send his daughter to school and pull him out of school, where he has to choose whether to risk his daughter by losing his seat. He said he wanted to be. He hopes the district will push Abbott’s Maskman Date back or come up with remote options for students like Hazel. At the very least, he wants the district to allow her to stay home temporarily and still keep her seat in Dugget Montessori.

If the district did none of those things, Vorse said it would leave him a hard-to-decide decision. It will be difficult to lose Hazel’s seat at school, but he knows that her safety must be his number one priority.

“We would rather go directly,” said Vorse. “But it’s not safe until she can be vaccinated, especially until she has an underlying medical condition.”