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Houston

Academe Insists Gov. Greg Abbott’s Mask Mandate Ban Doesn’t Cover Private Schools In Texas

Private schools in Texas must have found a loophole in Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s executive order for which they decided to impose measures designed to ensure the safety of their academic community.

Sometime in March, Abbott signed a measure disallowing schools from implementing mask mandates notwithstanding the rapidly rising numbers representing fresh daily tallies of COVID-19 infections. He has since stood against mounting pressures for him to reverse the directive, saying that getting vaccinated or wearing masks should remain a personal choice among Americans.

His position was further fuelled by a statement issued by his press secretary Renae Eze who said: “Gov. Abbott has been clear that we must rely on personal responsibility, not government mandates.”

Interestingly, schools hinted at allowing — but not necessarily compelling students to wear masks. In addition, teachers were given the prerogative to teach students how to wear protective masks appropriately.

As for the Xavier Academy in Houston, a huge chunk of its academic community has already been vaccinated. According to the academy director, David Garner, they already have a 100 percent vaccination rate among teaching personnel and students. “We’ve mandated that all our employees, teachers, and staff be vaccinated,” said Garner.

Having prepared way ahead of the unexpected predicament, Xavier Academy has invested in modern-day gadgets like cameras and tablets that move with the teacher.

“It would follow the teacher around the room. By pairing that with a large screen monitor on the wall, the kids in the classroom and the kids and the teacher can see a large picture of the kid on the monitor,” Garner added.

In Galveston, several school districts have started to come up with their final COVID-19 school protocols when classes resume in August.  Galveston ISD is embarking on common areas where seats are significantly placed apart inside the classrooms, and even in canteens or cafeterias as determined by the district.

At the Spring Branch ISD, hand sanitizers have been removed and students would be made to learn the proper way to cough or sneeze.

Alvin ISD went beyond what Spring Branch ISD did by imposing upon its students the need to properly wash hands, sneeze, and wear a mask.

Friendswood ISD is no longer requiring strict attendance and urged parents to keep their children at home in the event that they’re sick.

Relatedly, Houston area school districts are offering virtual classes on a limited scale.

Houston ISD, however, is yet to finalize their final COVID-19 protocols for the upcoming school year but hinted at plans like keeping plexiglass dividers, regular disinfection of the buildings, and limited visitation.

Aside from Houston ISD, Pasadena, Montgomery, Cy-Fair and La Porte ISDs are also close to wrapping up their final plans.