Schools keep safety protocols despite state mask lift

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.

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About Author

Megan Navarro (Wehring) graduated from Texas State University in May 2020 with a bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communication. In June 2020, she started a summer internship at the Hays Free Press/News-Dispatch through the Dow Jones News Fund and Texas Press Association. She then earned her way to a reporter position later that summer and now, she serves as the editor of the newspaper. Working for a small publication, Navarro wears multiple hats. She has various responsibilities including managing a team of reporters, making editorial decisions, overseeing social media posts, fact checking, writing her own articles and more. Navarro has a heart for storytelling and she believes that journalists are equipped to share the stories that are important to the community.

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