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Education

TEA Leaves Mask Policy Up To Local School Boards

Public school teacher Kelly Mrozik holds in-person class for first graders in Wasilla, Alaska. She is required to wear a mask. Her students are not.
Alaska Public Media
Public school teacher Kelly Mrozik holds in-person class for first graders in Wasilla, Alaska. She is required to wear a mask. Her students are not.

Texas schools will not have to change their mask policies when the state mask mandate ends March 10.

New guidance released by the Texas Education Agency Thursday leaves decisions regarding masks in the hands of local school boards.

The updated guidance gives districts the option of either continuing their existing mask policy, or changing the policy with the approval of their local board. School boards also have the option to eliminate the mask requirements entirely.

Educator groups expressed relief at the clarification, released by TEA the day after Gov. Greg Abbott announced the end of the state mandate.

“I’m a little concerned about the fact that local boards can pass policy to do away with masking for everyone, but I’m very glad that the default is to continue the mask requirements unless there’s board action,” said Zeph Capo, president of the Texas chapter of the American Federation of Teachers.

Texas AFT and other teacher groups also applauded the
Texas Department of State Health Services’ decision Thursday to add child care workers and K-12 school employees to the groups eligible for coronavirus vaccines. The change to the state’s vaccine priority list came at the direction of federal officials.

Laura Isensee of Houston Public Media contributed to this report.

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