UPDATE 3/3/21 2:24PM: The Texas Education Agency issued a news release Wednesday afternoon in which they announced that public school districts have full authority to determine their local mask use policies and continue current health and safety practices unchanged if they determine it's best to do so.

The TEA also issued an update to their Public Health Guidance document in response to Gov. Abbott's announcement Tuesday.


 

In a public address Tuesday, Governor Greg Abbott announced the news many Texans have been waiting to hear when he said that as of Wednesday, March 10th, there will no longer be a statewide mask mandate and businesses can once again operate at 100% capacity.

The news was welcomed by many, but also left some Texans disappointed. Now we are seeing how school districts in both Bell and McLennan County are reacting and planning to move forward.

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According to a report from FOX 44 News, Temple ISD will stay the course with its current protocols. Superintendent Bobby Ott released a statement shortly after Gov. Abbott's announcement letting parents and staff know that student and faculty safety remains the district’s first priority. Temple ISD will stay with current safety protocols the Bell County Health District has already approved for them.

Dr. Susan Kincannon, superintendent for Waco ISD, will stay with current safety protocols as well until the Waco McLennan County Health District advises otherwise. Waco ISD released the statement below on their Facebook page.



Belton ISD says it is working with local medical professionals while Communication Specialist, Karen Rudolph released this statement:

We’re proud of the way our community has come together during this pandemic to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Our prevention and mitigation strategies have worked. Students have been able to remain physically in school and participate in extracurricular activities.”

 

Killeen ISD also will stay the course until the Texas Education Agency offers guidance.

The Killeen Educators Association issued a statement as well:

We find the Governor’s actions to be both foolhardy and against science. With recent studies showing educators play a larger role than previously thought in the spread of COVID, priority vaccinations for them are now even more vital than ever. We urge everyone to continue to wear a mask, whether mandatory or not.”

 

So for now, school districts in our neck of the woods will stay the current course on how they have been handling the pandemic and keeping the kids and staff in masks.

LOOK: Answers to 30 common COVID-19 vaccine questions

While much is still unknown about the coronavirus and the future, what is known is that the currently available vaccines have gone through all three trial phases and are safe and effective. It will be necessary for as many Americans as possible to be vaccinated in order to finally return to some level of pre-pandemic normalcy, and hopefully these 30 answers provided here will help readers get vaccinated as soon they are able.