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.
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.