Gov. Greg Abbott announced last Thursday that Texas public school students would return in person this fall, but the state has yet to release details about health protocols.
Dr. Marc Mazade, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at Cooks Children's, worked with more than 50 physicians to create a list of recommendations for those health protocols.
Most notably, Mazade and Cooks Children's recommended that "all students, visitors, and school employees should wear face coverings on campus."
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"It's really easy to pass COVID-19 on conversing with somebody just having a very close face to face conversation", said Mazade, Medical Director of Infection Prevention at Cook Children’s. "You don't want to have to remove your mask and transmit infection to someone and then put the mask back on that doesn't achieve anything."
Texas Education Agency spokesperson Frank Ward said the state won't mandate the use of face coverings or masks but will leave the decision up to local leaders.
While additional health guidance is expected to be released from the Texas Education Agency on Tuesday, Ward said there would be an emphasis on local control.
For the complete list of recommendations for all parents and educators to read click here.
Here are some of the other Cooks Children's recommendations:
- COVID-19 transmission education for all students and teachers as well as proper hand hygiene and cough etiquette
- Daily cleaning of all facilities and recommended dry times before reuse
- Lenient policies surrounding illness-related absences to limit the transmission of COVID-19
- Drinking from paper cups or bottles instead of water fountains
- Pausing choir rehearsals during period of high COVID-19 transmission because high rates of transmission have been documented between grouped singers
- Arranging classrooms to maximize social distancing
- Increasing online opportunities for both students and faculty as well as quarantined individuals
The full list of recommendations can be viewed here.