San Antonio – Monday is the first day of school for kids at Castle Hills Elementary and it happened to fall on the same day the American Academy of Pediatrics announced new recommendations for the 2021-2022 school year.
Safety protocols are in place including hand sanitizing stations throughout classrooms and social distancing when possible but, this year masks are optional.
“Governor Abbott issued an executive order saying that we cannot mandate masks, so mask usage will not be required for all students and all staff,” said Aubrey Chancellor, Executive Director for Communications at North East ISD.
The school’s principal said about 15 to 20% of the students are still wearing masks.
Chancellor said if parents want their children to wear a mask, teachers will not be responsible in making sure the student is wearing it.
“It would be difficult for the teacher to remember or, you know, know which child should or should not be in. And again, we really want to make sure that we’re following that mandate from the governor, and we cannot force anyone to wear a mask if they don’t want to,” Chancellor said.
Today, the American Academy of Pediatrics released new COVID-19 guidance for schools. It urges all who are eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
AAP also said everyone over the age of two should continue to wear a mask in school settings, regardless of vaccination status.
The district said even with these recommendations released, their hands are tied.
“Unfortunately, our hands are tied to what our governor mandates when it comes to the mask. So, there’s nothing that we can do about that recommendation,” Chancellor said.