Texas public schools have option to require masks

Posted at 6:30 PM, Aug 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-20 19:42:24-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The Texas Supreme Court ruled in favor of mask advocates by allowing schools to temporarily require masks, going against Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s ban on mask requirements in public schools.

Christopher Reed is a parent of 6- and 9-year-olds, and just lost family members to COVID-19. He said he favors mask requirements in schools because he wants life to go back to normal, and his kids to stay in school if it is safe.

“It’s very important to wear that mask because of all the death toll that we have," he said. "It’s not just in included in Corpus, it’s all around Texas, all around the world.”

He said grieving the deaths in his family is hard enough, but add the logistical toll of taking time off from work, arranging for his kids to take time off, taking care of family and attending funerals, and it's a lot.

“It’s -- man, to be honest with you -- it’s an emotional despair," he said. "It puts a lot of things on hold. People have to work, of course the kids that have to go to school.”

However, Reed said there shouldn’t be any consequences for kids if they do not wear the mask.

“There’s no reason for a child to be punished for that, and if the school district is taking advantage of that because they don’t want the child to be there, then that adds a real discrimination towards the child,” Reed said.

American Federation of Teachers-Corpus Christi chapter president Nancy Vera said she approves of schools requiring masks because she said CCISD had to quarantine a teacher and a few students because they contracted the virus.

She said masks would prevent those types of incidences, and that students would be safer in the classroom with a mask requirement.

“Teachers are frightened," she said. "So when we’re talking about guidance, we’re talking about yes, science, but also the fear that we have in contracting the COVID-19, especially the variant,”

Driscoll Children's Hospital infectious diseases specialist Dr. Jaime Fergie said the virus could be spread through water droplets, and that even though masks don’t prevent the spread of the virus completely, it can reduce the spread.

Fergie said masks are just as effective at preventing other respiratory illnesses, such as pneumonia, as they are at preventing COVID-19.

“If you wear a mask then you, of course, are preventing the particle from going out and infecting somebody else," he said. "I think that is the main point of the mask wearing."