Classroom Confessionals: ‘I feel like I’ll be dropping off my kids in a battlefield’

How San Antonio-area parents, educators feel about sending kids to classrooms

Texas City ISD

SAN ANTONIO – KSAT has now received nearly 700 submissions to our Classroom Confessionals prompt, where we ask parents, educators and students to weigh in and share their thoughts on the return to in-person learning for the 2021-2022 academic year.

COVID-19 outbreaks have temporarily shut down several school districts in Texas despite the school year just beginning while San Antonio districts have continued to modify health protocols as the legalities of mask policies continue to change.

Many responses to the Classroom Confessionals prompt express concern over the lack of a virtual learning option, the flip flop of mask mandates and sharing their opinions about Gov. Greg Abbott and his response to the pandemic.

If you’re confused about the mask-wearing situation - you’re not alone. There’s been a lot of debate along with recent political back-and-forth regarding mandating masks.

Abbott issued an executive order on June 5 that prohibited school districts, among others, from mandating masks. He doubled down on this with another executive order on July 29, which further removed local governments’ abilities to enact policies like requiring people to wear masks.

The mask mandate scenario then went through political volleyball between Aug. 10 and 16 with Bexar County Civil District Court Judge Toni Arteaga issuing a temporary restraining order against Abbott’s order and allowing Bexar County Health Authority to issue a health directive, allowing public schools to require masks. This was followed by the Texas Supreme Court ruling in favor of Abbott’s executive order and temporarily banned mask mandates in Bexar County. Then on Aug. 16, Arteaga again ruled in favor of Bexar County.

Arteaga’s ruling granted a temporary injunction that prevents the enforcement of Abbott’s executive order. This was possible because the Texas Supreme Court’s ruling allowed for the injunction hearings to continue.

Abbott and Texas Attorney Gen. Ken Paxton are expected to appeal Arteaga’s decision.

Due to the waffling between state and local leaders in regards to mask mandates, several San Antonio school districts are requiring masks while others are only encouraging mask-wearing. You can find links to San Antonio-area school district’s COVID-19 plans here.

Please note that the viewer responses to the Classroom Confessional prompt which have been published below were submitted before court rulings on Aug. 15 and Aug. 16. The responses have not been altered in any way.

There are still more responses to share and if you want to weigh in, you can do so below in the prompt at the end of the article. Your comment could be published in the next Classroom Confessional.

You can find more background information about where things stand currently and the latest education news in our back-to-school section.

I am an Employee at SAISD and I’m very PISSED that the Governor or the Superintendent are not doing anything to keep our children safe from this COVID! All they seem to care about are the FUNDS coming in. Also in the classrooms there is no 3 or 6 feet apart, so how are the CHILDREN SAFE?!?!?


Parents should have the choice to determine whether or not their children need to wear mask, children have a immune system. If you cover it up, it doesn’t function properly. Stop forcing things on a free society. If your scared stay home lock yourself up. Leave others alone. The flu is worse.


As a parent (I don’t feel it’s safe for my kids to go back to school unvaccinated especially with this new delta variant. It was scary enough having them go this past year but as the face mask mandate was lifted I told my kids to leave there’s on no matter what. Please protect our children!!! Saisd


Masks do absolutely no good for covid 19 mitigation. This is a fact. Like throwing marbles through a chain link fence. To ask kids to wear them is ignorant and emotionally absurd. Send the kids to school. Concerned teachers can seek a new profession.


Having a child with several heart conditions and being too young to get vaccinated, we have no choice but to homeschool this year. Not offering virtual learning really puts a lot of parents in a bind because we want our children to be safe and healthy. Think about the children and their families!


I think the fact that there isn’t an option for virtual forced us into having to withdraw our (4) children from Judson ISD. We have one child with Asthma in the household who just barely became eligible for vaccination and one child under 12 who still isn’t eligible for vaccination.


Everyone why is there no virtual school because of those cowards who ran to Washington, away from their obligations. They couldn’t vote on it. Call a special session to pass it. Contact them for answers


These kids sacrificed so much for the elderly and other adults who were at such higher risks with the earlier variants. The Delta variant is causing children to end up hospitalized and we can’t seem to sacrifice for them and mandate masks. GovernorAbbot is telling our kids he doesn’t care about them


Finally! Those that are worried wear masks.


I feel like I’ll be dropping off my kids in a battlefield hoping that at 5 and 7 years old they are able to dodge the bullets coming right at them. If Governor Abbot isn’t going to mandate masks in schools, he needs to offer virtual. Many kids have disabilities and immune disorders. What about them?


It just doesn’t make sense. . . What more can I say?


Hello my youngest who is 7yrs.old entering 2nd grade (has not obviously had his vaccine and has asthma) will need to return to NISD this coming school yr. I’m frightened because I don’t know which administrator / teacher has or has not gotten their vaccine.


I think masking is now a personal choice. Abbott is doing the right thing. If a family is concerned, they should mask and have their child wear a mask.


I think Covid-19 vaccine should be mandatory just like other vaccines to go to school. Vaccine cards showed be shown like shot records. All wear mask.what will it be for football players. Middle/high school kids. HISD


My children do much better in person academically and socially. I am sending them all with masks. They get used to it and sometimes forget to take them off after school. I think masks bother adults more than children. My biggest concern is adult staff not masking.


I have elementary and high school grandchildren and am highly concerned for their safety with the Delta variant that is so transmittable. The children under 12 yrs old have no vaccine protection and politics are putting them in peril!!! Can we sue politicians who are endangering their lives?


As a biologist I wear a mask when necessary, don’t care for wearing one for more that a couple hours though. They will help with the Delta strain as sneezing is one of its main early symptoms. Perhaps the kids could have some mask-less breaks outside? We used to call that recess.


As a Mom and a Registered Nurse I am terrified of sending my daughter to kindergarten this year without a mask mandate. I am still contemplating just keeping her home one more year. The way our governor is handling this public health crisis is TERRIBLE! Can’t wait to vote him out!


The data continues to show children under 18 are not vectors for Covid. And even if they do have Covid the sheer majority of cases are mild. As the parent of three NEISD students I’m proud of our Governor giving parents the choice of doing what’s best for their children.


We will be signing our kids up for virtual learning through the Texas online public school system (More info is on the Texas Education Agency’s website). Concerns such as my children getting COVID on top of catching illnesses from school such as strep throat, the flu, etc is terrifying.


For everyone saying that governor abbot is acting like a dictator is hilarious. I haven’t heard him say “if you wear masks you won’t be able to go into a restaurant” like some other governors have already said. He’s leaving the decision making up to us as parents who have kids in school for mask.


I am from Las Vegas and I will be moving to San Antonio so I will be doing school this semester as a Junior. I have my vaccine, and I believe it can help me out, but I am concerned about being around exposed people that can still get me sick. I am scared of exposing my baby brother as well.


I’m scared and torn. Two children in NEISD, one of them too young to be vaccinated. Both behind from online learning. Vaccinated parents both have health issues. Vaccinated member of our family is on a vent due to breakthrough infection. I don’t know what the right answer is.


I have two unvaccinated children 9 and 4 and they are required to go to in class school next week I have a mother with declining health issues. I’m not sure what to do at this point but I know Abbott doesn’t give a rat’s bottom about your child or mine nor does he care about anyones health .


A school can require my kid to have a clear backpack (in the off chance of a school shooting) and ban shirts that are too short (to prevent distractions in the classroom), but a mask (to slow the spread of a dangerous disease) is overreach?!? The Governor never cared about parent choice before.


Why don’t the school districts have approval for pathogenic atomization? Or why don’t the school use pathogenic atomization from an organization that does it? If it has been proven to kill 99.9% of pathogens, why is others relying on the vaccine alone?


People are deciding for my child if breathing in their air is safe for him. It’s violating my freedom to keep my child safe. Just like smoking, you should have the right in your personal space, but in public there are requirements to consider others despite your personal beliefs. Mask up.


My concern is the safety of my family. Abbott says we have choices of whether or not to wear a mask. Where is our choice to keep our kids safe at home? He took that choice away from us. So my question is, why do we only have rights/choices when it fits your agenda?


My children will be returning to school in person this fall and I’m very glad for that! People want online learning for their students but most children were failed because they didn’t get the “Appropriate “ learning that they would get from in person learning. This was stressful for everyone.


I really want to go back. But they do not mandate mask or vaccinations. I’m scared to go back. My mental Health was at an all time low online schooling isolated from my friends. I would write more but only 300 letters. Hopefully this helps get this mandate.


I’m 100% for mask mandates for adults - BUT anyone who’s seen a child with a mask on knows they touch it all day long, then touch other things. Masks reqs in school could have the reverse effect of what’s intended. Forcing a virtual school option would take away quality of education from all kids.


Many responses to the KSAT prompt continue to be related to concern over the lack of options for virtual learning and the requirement of masks.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, masks may help prevent people who have COVID-19 from spreading the virus to others. Wearing a face mask may also limit your exposure to respiratory droplets and large particles, which may help prevent people who have COVID-19 from spreading the virus.

Related: University Health epidemiologist answers common questions about COVID-19 delta variant, vaccines and masks

In regards to the virtual learning issue, Texas lawmakers failed to pass a bill earlier this year that would have funded school districts for virtual learning. The bill was widely and openly supported by both Republicans and Democrats but House Democrats walked off the legislative floor, effectively killing the bill, in their effort to block a separate, controversial voting bill.

The move by the Democrats left the legislature without the minimum number of representatives needed to vote on policies - also known as a quorum. Without a quorum, voting can’t take place and no bills can be passed.

EXPLAINER: Texas Democrats fled the state. Here’s why.

Want to chime in? We may publish your thoughts on our website or feature them on our newscasts, but you can remain anonymous if you wish.

About the Author:

Mary Claire Patton has been a journalist with KSAT 12 since 2015. She has reported on several high-profile stories during her career at KSAT and specializes in trending news and things to do around Texas and San Antonio.