Killeen ISD

Some local & state educators are pushing for Gov. Greg Abbott to reverse his executive order banning public entities from enacting mask mandates as the numbers of COVID-19 cases rise. Participants at Killeen ISD’s first-ever middle school STREAM Camp worked on projects at Union Grove Middle School while wearing masks in June.

As COVID-19 cases rise statewide, state and local educators are urging Gov. Greg Abbott to reverse his controversial mask mandate ban in the name of local control.

Bell County Public Health District officials raised the COVID-19 threat level Tuesday from "moderate" Level 3 to "significant" Level 2 due to “a higher incidence rate and hospitalizations,” according to a news release.

Trauma Service Area L — which includes Bell County — saw the highest percentages of COVID-19 hospitalizations in Texas for the sixth straight day Tuesday, according to FME News Service.

EDUCATORS

The Texas State Teachers Association, a branch of the National Education Association, issued a news release Tuesday urging Gov. Abbott to retract his “prohibition on mask mandates.”

Ovidia Molina

Texas State Teachers Association President Ovidia Molina.

The governor issued an executive order in May banning governmental entities — including counties, cities, school districts, public health authorities, or government officials — from requiring or mandating mask wearing.

“Educators are eager to return to the classroom, but the pandemic is still dangerous,” TSTA President Ovidia Molina said in a news release. “With COVID-19 cases increasing again and many people still unvaccinated, the American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended that everyone older than 2 wear a mask when they go back to school.”

Molina urged the governor to provide flexibility surrounding masking protocol as the state continues to navigate the ongoing global pandemic.

“If Gov. Abbott really cares about the health and safety of Texas students, educators and their communities, he will give local school officials and health experts the option of requiring masks in their schools,” she said.

Newly elected president of the Killeen Educators Association, Rachel Bourrage, said she is also concerned by the governor’s mandate. As the 2021-2022 school year approaches, Bourrage said district employees are growing increasingly worried by recent news of local COVID-19 infection rates on the rise.

Rachel Bourrage

Killeen Educators Association President Rachel Bourrage said school districts should be able to make their own decisions regarding masking protocol.

“School districts should have local control on masking,” Bourrage said by phone Wednesday. “If a district wants to have a mask mandate, they should be permitted to do so. Right now, Governor Abbott, by not allowing schools to implement a mask mandate, is playing Russian Roulette with the health and safety of our students, public school employees, and all of Bell County. KEA encourages staff and the community to follow health and safety guidelines.”

A Meadows Elementary pre-K-3 aide and KEA executive board member, Tina Merker, echoed the masking concerns of TSTA and Bourrage.

Tina Merker

Killeen Educators Association board member Tina Merker said school districts should be able to make their own decisions regarding masking protocol.

“I think it’s important that if our local health authority says that we need it, that we should be able to use their advice, and the district can decide from there, versus from the governor,” Merker said by phone Wednesday. “The governor is not a doctor, he has no medical experience. The Bell County Health Department, they have medical knowledge, and those are the ones who should be making medical decisions.”

Merker said her 3-year-old students happily complied with KISD’s masking mandate last year after just two weeks of training.

“Every once and a while we might have to remind them, but the younger they are the more they model everybody around them, so if everybody is wearing them, they’re going to comply,” Merker said.

Merker stressed the importance of students and employees wearing masks, regardless of an official mask mandate.

“No kid wants to wear a mask, no adult wants to wear a mask, but no parent wants to see their child in the hospital either, or a staff member see someone they work with in the hospital,” she said.

KISD

Until the governor’s mask mandate ban is reversed, school districts have their hands tied in regards to masking protocol. The most a district can do is encourage the use of masks, as Killeen ISD has recently done.

Killeen ISD spokeswoman Taina Maya responded to a late request from the Herald on the masking debate Wednesday.

Taina Maya

Killeen ISD spokeswoman Taina Maya.

“Killeen ISD continues to update the Public Health Guide to align with mandates from Bell County, TEA, and the Governor,” Maya said in an email Wednesday. “Employees and students are encouraged to wear a face covering, but it is not required. The district has offered several opportunities for employees, students and the public to be vaccinated for COVID-19 but does not require employees to be vaccinated.”

Those interested in viewing the district’s public health guide may visit www.killeenisd.org/PHG

“As a district we continue to closely monitor COVID-19 and all influenza-like illnesses among employees, students and the community,” Maya said. “We will continue to have increased custodial teams across the district to provide clean and welcoming facilities.”

Killeen ISD students return to school on Aug. 16.

Shane Monaco contributed to this report.

ldodd@kdhnews.com | 254-501-7567

(7) comments

ResistTyranny

10 scientific studies have show that masks have NO EFFECT in stopping the spread of viral infection, either me giving it to you or you to me. NONE.

And these tests were under conditions where masks were used properly.

In hospitals, doctors and nurses change their masks many times a day and wash their hands before doing do. Most Americans wear the same mask for days or weeks and keep it in their pocket when not wearing it. We also use cloth masks which have no medical benefit whatsoever.

So yes, masks are useless and mask mandates are just boiling the frog to take our freedoms one bit at a time.

ResistTyranny

Let OUR children enjoy life again. (NOT THE STATES, NOT BIDENS, NOT THESE SO CALLED EDUCATORS and TEACHERS UNIONS, AND SCHOOL BOARD MEMBERS.)

DON'T MAKE THEM GROW UP WEARING MASKS. PLEASE

ResistTyranny

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will no longer recommend its PCR test to detect the CCP virus, saying that it will withdraw the test’s emergency use authorization (EUA), and instead, encourage labs to use a multiplex assay that can detect and differentiate the virus from the flu.

ResistTyranny

Did you know that the CDC quietly pulled the PCR test and that have shut down this country and

If Masks work, why do we need the Vaccine?

If the Vaccine works, why do we need the Masks?

If neither work, why are people getting the Vaccine and wearing Mas

ResistTyranny

IF THE BIDEN ADMIN WANTS TO CONTROL #COVID & THE 'DELTA VARIANT' THEN WHY IS THE SOUTHERN BORDER STILL OPEN?

◾ THIS ISN'T ABOUT A VIRUS - THEY WANT TO CONTROL YOU & REMOVE YOUR RIGHTS & FREEDOMS

◾ FIGHT BACK, AMERICA - DO NOT COMPLY!

◾ TRUMP WAS RIGHT - THEY ARE NOT AFTER HIM - THEY ARE AFTER YOU & PRESIDENT TRUMP WAS JUST IN THEIR WAY

◾ THE GLOBAL ELITE WANTS YOU DEAD - DEPOPULATION FOR #NWO/GREAT RESET = PURE EVIL 😈 😈 😈

🛑 IT'S TIME FOR AMERICA TO FIGHT FOR YOUR RIGHTS & FREEDOMS 🛑

ResistTyranny

State, local educators are child abusers. Making these poor children breath in bacteria and smother themselves again. DISGUSTING PEOPLE.

The Nuremberg Code forbids forced medical procedures and is a crime punishable by execution.

YES mandatory masks and vaccines DO BREAK the 10 points of the Nuremberg Code.

We have been here before.

These people should NOT be talking about mandating mask when our southern border is being invaded with all kinds of disease from the invaders thanks to the Biden regime.

ResistTyranny

They enjoy their power of making your children suffocate and breathe in the bacteria on their face diapers. We pay taxes to make our children and grandchildren breath in bacteria and suffocate our children. HOMESCHOOL NOW.

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