AUSTIN (KXAN) — Masks should be reintroduced at Texas schools amid a sharp rise in COVID-19 cases, according to a group of Texas Democrats.
In a letter addressed to Governor Greg Abbott and Texas Education Agency commissioner Mike Morath, the group of Texas House representatives urged the governor to backtrack on his position.
Just this week, Gov. Abbott said he would not reintroduce a mask mandate, telling KPRC in Houston that it would be “inappropriate to require people who already have immunity to wear a mask.”
The letter, which was sent by Rep. Vikki Goodwin on Friday and signed by 31 other lawmakers, comes as the more contagious delta variant of COVID-19 spreads statewide and across the country.
“The academic year will be starting soon, and we have heard from school officials and parents in our districts that the path we are on is not acceptable to them,” Rep. Goodwin wrote.
“Children under 12 cannot get a COVID vaccine, which means they are vectors of infection for each other, their teachers, and their family members,” it states. “Putting them all in one building without masks is foolish.
The letter notes that while most children are less likely to be infected or become seriously ill due to their age, if they contract COVID-19 at school they could easily pass it on to a vulnerable relative.
“Please remove the current ban on mask mandates in schools,” the letter states.
Goodwin added that schools must also make it a priority to be able to provide virtual learning to students who are at higher risk for contracting the disease.
On Friday, Travis County moved back up to Stage 4 of its COVID-19 risk-based guidelines due to an increase in hospitalizations.
Local officials now recommend that even vaccinated people should wear masks indoors.