Abilene ISD will not follow big city districts in defying governor’s executive order on masks in schools

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ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – In a media briefing Tuesday, Superintendent Dr. David Young said Abilene ISD will follow Governor Greg Abbott’s executive order which prohibits school districts from requiring masks on campus.

This week juggernaut ISDs Dallas, Austin, and Houston announced their intent to defy the governor’s orders on masking in public schools. As of now, Dr. Young says the choice to wear a mask is still up to students and parents of AISD.

“At this time there have been no meaningful discussions about defying the governor’s order,” said Dr. Young. “I think this is going to get challenged fairly quickly. I mean, it’s only August 10th and this could be a decided issue before school starts for us by August 19th.”

As is custom with the pandemic, changes for school districts are not uncommon. However, it’s parents like Jennifer Jones that must wait to hear how they may effect their families.

Jones is an Abilene native, moving back to the Key City from Florida last year. She will be sending her kids back to school this month after her children learned remotely last year. She says she is optimistic, but cautious on her children going back to in-person learning.

“Them going back to school and learning from a teacher would be great,” said Jones. “I just feel like I’m not adequate enough to prepare them for every single subject they need.”

A complaint the Abilene mom has is that she wishes communication from schools would be more clear. She says she’s not received notification of sanitizing procedures or social distancing.

“So far there’s just not much. The only thing I’ve heard is just that masks are optional this year,” said Jones.

In the same media briefing, Dr. Young was asked about this complaint on communication – one widely seen on local social media.

He apologized if parents had felt “in the dark” but assures them that current protocols are on the district’s website.

He asked for grace for admins as the pandemic continues to make health and safety protocols a moving target.

“There’s a balance between at what point [you’re] waiting long enough to get the best information to balance that with when a parent needs to hear it,” said Dr. Young. “For those that think we missed that balance, I certainly am sorry for that, just know that that’s our intent, is to strike that appropriate balance.”

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