Abilene ISD Superintendent says masks will be optional at graduation

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ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Superintendent Dr. David Young says Governor Abbott’s executive order has taken one thing off his plate – whether or not masks must be worn in school.

The executive order passed Tuesday does not go into effect until June 5, several days after AISD’s final day of school on May 27.

Dr. Young says because of this, the order will only impact summer school, a period in which the district already anticipated reduced virus restrictions.

“Masking will be optional at graduation,” said Dr. Young. “We’re not having near the restrictions we’ve had in years past. We had anticipated summer school being very similar and his order clarified that for us.”

As the school year nears its end, so does the legislative session for the Lone Star State. A piece of legislation drawing the eye of Dr. Young and many other Texas educators is House Bill 547, which allows homeschooled students to participate in UIL competitions.

“Most school districts are opposed to this bill, most school lobby organizations are opposed to this bill,” said Dr. Young.

The superintendent says it would be unfair to give homeschoolers the same competitive opportunities as public school students, as implementation would vary too widely across the state.

“It’s just not a level playing field,” said Dr. Young. “To participate in UIL activities they have to be with us five periods of the school day, that’s our policy. What if the district down the road says they only have to be there for one period? That’s an inequitable paradigm for us to compete against other schools with.”

The bill has already passed through the Texas House and now waits on a vote from the Senate, from there it will go to Governor Abbott’s desk to be signed into law.

Dr. Young also said surveys are now ready for the public to give input on how the district should spend ESSER funds, those are the emergency relief funds from the federal government to school districts for COVID-19 relief.

Find a link to the survey page here.

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