Local districts preparing for the school year with fewer COVID-19 mandates

Published: Jul. 27, 2021 at 7:45 PM CDT
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - COVID-19 numbers continue to rise in Brazos County with just under half of the population 12 and older fully vaccinated.

The latest surge in cases is starting to affect some children’s summer activities, like the City of Bryan’s Camp Hero.

Families were notified Monday about five positive COVID cases where several age groups could have been exposed. Recommendations from the Brazos County Health District to quarantine for ten days resulted in the camp closing for its last two weeks.

“This is the only area that we’ve had this come up that’s affected us where we had to reschedule or cancel programs. In all other areas, again, we’re following safety guidelines as we can so we haven’t seen it come yet. And here being at the end of summer, we don’t expect it to get too bad but we’re definitely watching,” said David Schmitz, Bryan Parks and Recreations Interim Director.

As we inch closer to another school year, a big portion of our student population remains unable to get vaccinated.

Governor Greg Abbott tweeted Tuesday, “The time for government mask mandates is over—now is the time for personal responsibility. In May, I signed an executive order prohibiting mask mandates by gov’t entities. Every Texan has the right to choose whether they will wear a mask or have their children wear masks.”

Bryan and College Station ISD officials say they’re doing what they can to keep everyone safe despite having limits on what guidelines they are able to put in place.

“We’re still going to have the hand sanitizer there. We’re still going to have the wipes there. The disinfectant is there. We have sneeze guards available in every classroom. We still have markers on the floor for social distancing,” said Matthew LeBlanc, Bryan ISD Communication and Public Affairs Executive Director.

In a statement to KBTX, Molley Perry, College Station ISD’s Chief Administration Officer said: “Preventing the spread of COVID-19 continues to be important within College Station ISD during the 2021-22 school year. While our school operations will look much like what our staff, students, and families experienced prior to the pandemic, the district’s COVID-19 Mitigation and Response Plan is being updated to reflect revised protocols in accordance with current guidance from the Texas Education Agency and Governor Abbott’s Executive Orders.”

Although students won’t be required to wear masks in the schools, masks will be required on school buses.

“Transportation falls under the federal government and so the federal government says on buses children still have to wear masks,” said LeBlanc.

District officials say they’ll continue doing their part to help slow the spread this school year and hope parents will help too.

“Whether it’s COVID-19 or anything, if the child doesn’t feel well, be honest about that at school and be honest about that at home and from the parents perspective keeping the child at home when the child doesn’t feel well,” said LeBlanc.

The Centers for Disease Control is recommending all people wear masks in place with high transmission, vaccinated or not.

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