Educators have mixed feelings about returning to the classroom

The Texas Education Agency is expected to release a safety protocol plan on Tuesday

Now that Gov. Greg Abbott has announced that public school students in Texas will return to the classroom in the fall, San Antonio schools are making preliminary plans for the new school year.

SAN ANTONIO – Educators in Bexar County want to have a say in the safety plan that districts are formulating as students return to the classroom this fall.

Governor Greg Abbott announced that students will be back in the classroom next school year, during a conference call with lawmakers Thursday. He said masks and health screenings would not be mandatory but more directives would come from the Texas Education Agency.

Bexar County school districts had already announced their plans to return to a face-to-face and remote classroom setting. The TEA is expected to release a detailed safety protocol plan on Tuesday.

RELATED: Texas students will return to school campuses this fall, Gov. Greg Abbott tells lawmakers

Adrian Reyna, an 8th grade US History teacher, said he’s eager to return to the classroom, but he also has some hesitation about what that safety protocol will look like to protect him and his students.

“There’s no shortage of concerns, and really the number one is just the health and safety of students,” Reyna said.

Alejandra Lopez, the new SA Alliance Union president, said those in daily contact with students need to be included in the conversation about protocols.

“Ultimately, we are putting our entire community at risk if we are not prepared to prioritize health and safety,” Lopez said. “So really, we have an opportunity as a community to come together and hold ourselves to a higher standard than the governor is holding us to.”

Lopez said at SAISD, there’s concerns about the multi-generational families that could all be put at risk if the proper precautions are not taken.

The SA Alliance has brought together a coalition of educators, parents and medical experts to help districts in Bexar County with the safety plan.

The union is also pushing for hazard pay for support personnel.

SAISD and NEISD school districts said they’re waiting on the safety directives from the TEA to announce their back to school plan.

NEISD went further to say that just because the governor won’t require masks and health screenings, does not mean their plan won’t include something similar.

MORE: Teacher associations in Texas say ‘hell no’ to education official’s plans to reopen campuses in fall

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About the Authors:

Patty Santos joined the KSAT 12 News team in July 2017. She has a proven track record of reporting on hard-hitting news that affects the community.

Before starting KSAT in 2017, Lee was a photojournalist at KENS 5, where he won a Lone Star Emmy in 2014 for Best Weather Segment. In 2009 and 2010 Lee garnered first-place awards with the Texas Association of Broadcasters for Best Investigative Series in College Station, as well as winning first place for Staff Photojournalism in 2011 at KBTX.