by Megan Wehring
To mask or not to mask is a burning question circulating in the education community following Governor Greg Abbott’s removal of the mandate effective on March 10. The answer for many school districts in Hays County is masks will still be required unless the school board votes otherwise.
Hays, Dripping Springs and Wimberley school districts will continue following the Texas Education Agency (TEA) guidelines. The districts will maintain the current safety protocols in place, which include wearing face masks.
Students and staff 10 years and older will be required to wear a face mask unless they have a medical condition that prevents them from doing so, while engaging in physical outdoor activity and while consuming food or drink. The full guidelines can be viewed online at the TEA website.
“Nothing in the updated TEA guidance changes anything that is currently happening in Hays CISD schools regarding COVID safety protocols,” said Hays CISD Chief Communication Officer Tim Savoy. “So, we will keep doing what we have been doing. The district; in concert with local, state, and federal health authorities; maintains its belief that masks are an essential tool in helping to keep the virus in check.”
The Texas Department of State Health Services announced that educators, teachers and school support staff, are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. The list includes teachers, bus drivers, child nutrition employees, custodians, school nurses and other school employees.
TEA noted that the governing board of a school system may modify or eliminate the mask-related requirements. Community members are encouraged to watch the upcoming school board meetings: Dripping Springs ISD on March 22, Wimberley ISD on March 22 and Hays CISD on March 29.