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Texas Students Will Return To School Campuses This Fall, Gov. Greg Abbott Tells Lawmakers

A general view inside an empty classroom at a primary school in Hertford, after the majority of schools in the UK closed while the spread of the COVID-19 continues.
Andrew Couldridge | Reuters
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A general view inside an empty classroom at a primary school in Hertford, after the majority of schools in the UK closed while the spread of the COVID-19 continues.

Texas students will be returning to public schools in person this fall, Gov. Greg Abbott told state lawmakers Thursday morning.

Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath has determined it will be safe for students to return to their campuses this fall. School districts will not be required to mandate students wear masks or test them for COVID-19 symptoms, confirmed Frank Ward, a spokesperson for the Texas Education Agency.

The TEA will release additional guidance for school districts next Tuesday.

According to state lawmakers on the 11 a.m. call with Abbott, school districts will be able to also offer instructional alternatives for students. National surveys have shown many parents do not feel safe sending their students back to the classrooms.

The decision comes as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to rise statewide, and local officials begin to put firmer restrictions in place to tamp down the spread in their cities and counties.

This story will be updated here.

The Texas Tribune is a nonpartisan, nonprofit media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them – about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues. 

Aliyya Swaby started as the Texas Tribune's public education reporter in October 2016. She came to the Tribune from the hyperlocal nonprofit New Haven Independent, where she covered education, zoning and transit for two years. After graduating from Yale University in 2013, she spent a year freelance reporting in Panama on social issues affecting black Panamanian communities. A native New Yorker, Aliyya misses public transportation but is thrilled by the lack of snow.
Cassandra Pollock is The Texas Tribune’s state politics reporter. She joined the Tribune full-time in June 2017 after a fellowship during the 85th Texas Legislature. Pollock spent her first two years at the Trib as an engagement reporter, which meant her name likely landed in your inbox every weekday morning with “The Brief,” a newsletter on all things Texas politics and public policy. Pollock is a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin’s School of Journalism.