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Abbott’s mask policy could affect back-to-school season
August 13, 2021
In order to comply with Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s May 18 executive order, the district began the new school year Wednesday, Aug. 11, with an optional policy towards the usage of facial coverings.
Due to the increased availability of vaccines last May, the district announced April 19 that facial coverings would be optional this year. The announcement was later backed up by Abbott’s executive order on May 18 that went into effect June 4, which banned districts from mandating facial coverings in the back-to-school season.
“The Lone Star State continues to defeat COVID-19 through the use of widely-available vaccines, antibody therapeutic drugs, and safe practices utilized by Texans in our communities,” Abbott said in the order. “We can continue to mitigate COVID-19 while defending Texans’ liberty to choose whether or not they mask up.”
With the increasing reports of COVID-19 cases on the rise, specifically the Delta variant, many students have started sharing their opinions about heading back into the upcoming school year under a mask-optional policy.
Do you agree with the PISD & Abbott policy/order on optional mask use for the school year?
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“I think that people should be given the freedom to decide what’s in their best interest,” sophomore Andy Hough said. “To evaluate their own health decisions to make the best choices for themselves.”
With the Delta, or B.1.617.2 COVID-19 variant, on the rise, a specific mutation of the virus that is more contagious and can affect individuals who are fully vaccinated against the original strand, multiple states have returned back to mask policies in spite of holding previous positions.
A total of nine states including California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, New York and Washington have all defaulted back to some of their previous restrictions, mandating the use of masks for both those with a COVID-19 vaccination and those who are non-vaccinated when indoors.
In the state of Texas, the new Delta strand is accounting for 83.3% of individuals testing positive according to the Centers for Disease Control. In a recent interview, the director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Anthony Fauci, reported that vaccinated individuals may continue to test positive and be infected with the COVID-19 strands, however, their symptoms will be not as severe when compared to unvaccinated individuals. Despite this, many people share concerns about the effectiveness of the vaccine towards the new strand.
“I am wearing a mask this year and I am vaccinated,” junior Angie Paradiang said. “It’s other people’s choices if they want to wear a mask or not.”