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San Antonio Metro Health Orders All Schools Closed To In-Person Instruction Until After Labor Day

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San Antonio Metro Health has ordered all Bexar County schools closed to in-person instruction until after Labor Day. The order applies to both public and private schools.

Local health officials said they issued the closure order because there is a higher risk of spreading COVID-19 in schools, because they are confined spaces and because children may find it difficult to follow social distancing.

Assistant City Manager Dr. Colleen Bridger said the order could be extended past Sept. 7 if needed.

“It just gives us a little bit more time to figure out what else we can do and really watch those health numbers to see if those indicators are improving or not,” she said.

She said it came down to cautious expectations.

“Labor Day gives us a little bit of time," she said, "[and] gives a little bit of certainty to the parents and the students of what to expect for at least the next six weeks.”

Metro Health says athletic competitions and other school-sponsored events are also prohibited under the health directive.

Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff was supportive of the move.

“I think that was a very good decision by [SA Metro Health Medical Director Dr. Junda Woo]," he said. "“Hopefully by September the 7th we’ll be in much better shape. We know some kids need to get back to school. We know how important that is. But August is not the time to do it."

The county announcement came hours after the Texas Education Agency gave the state’s public schools permission to keep students learning remotely for up to eight weeks this fall.

New guidance issued Friday allows districts to start the school year remotely during a four week transition period. An additional four weeks will be granted with a waiver from the state, if requested by local school boards.

Camille Phillips can be reached at Camille@tpr.org and on Twitter at @cmpcamille.

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