Belton ISD is ready to welcome back students for the 2021-22 school year, but how are they handling the COVID-19 surge?

School Is (Almost) In Session

Most school districts are gearing up for another school year, with the majority of classes set to start next week. Here in Central Texas, COVID-19 cases are surging, leaving parents and kids worried about what to expect.

That concern has lead to school districts throughout Texas ignoring Texas Governor Greg Abbott's executive order, which bans school districts from enforcing mask mandates. Dallas, Houston, and Austin schools districts have stepped up to require masks anyway, setting up a showdown between the governor's office and those districts.

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Only One Local Mandate So Far

Here in Central Texas, Killeen ISD will not issue a mask mandate, while school campuses on Fort Hood will require students and staff to wear masks.

Belton ISD made announcements via their website today detailing how they'll handle the start of school after receiving input from parents and guidance from the Texas Education Agency, the CDC, and local health organizations. Here's a portion of that announcement:

Masks
Wearing masks is highly recommended but not required. As a district, we encourage families to make informed decisions in consultation with their healthcare provider. We expect students and staff to respect the individual choices on this decision.

Contact Tracing & Notifications
Belton ISD will contact trace and provide notifications to any identified close contacts. In addition, the district will again provide campus notifications and an online Active Case Dashboard beginning on the first day of school.

Virtual Learning
We do not have a virtual learning option available at this time. We will continue to look for ways to address the operational and fiscal challenges of offering this as a choice for our families.

We will continue to monitor conditions, communicate updates and look forward to seeing students Wednesday morning.

Scenario 3 at BISD

Belton ISD will start the school year in Scenario 3, meaning they'll stay with enhanced safety precautions such as increased hand washing, cleaning and sanitizing, distancing when practical, and reinforcing that those who are sick should stay home.

The health and safety of students, staff, and faculty at Belton ISD is their top concern. Let's hope these measures are enough to ensure not only student safety, but the safety of faculty they come in contact with and people they encounter at home.

It's Time to 'Stuff the Bus' for Central Texas Students

The new school year is just around the corner, and Central Texas students will face unique challenges as we put the pandemic behind us and look to the future.

One challenge no child should face is being without the essential school supplies they'll need to live up to their potential and achieve academic success.

That's where you and I come in. From July 19 to August 15, you can donate school supplies at the following locations. Donated supplies will benefit students in need in Belton ISD, Killeen ISD, and Temple ISD. (Click each district to view their 2021-2022 school supply lists.)

10 Cool Things To Do In Killeen, Temple, And Harker Heights Before School Starts

The new school year is just around the corner, but you've still got time to make some memories with your family. You don't even have to plan a big trip to do it. There's plenty to enjoy right here in Central Texas!