AUSTIN, Texas — The surge in COVID-19 cases, along with the CDC's new recommendation for everyone to wear masks inside schools, has some parents scrambling to find what they call a safe learning environment for their kids.
"There's really only two safe options," said Mom Julie Zweig. "One is the universal masking with the ability to eat lunch outdoors or somewhere safe, and virtual school."
Zweig said her two children don't have either option. Their charter school, NYOS, isn't offering virtual learning.
Despite the CDC recommending that everyone inside schools wear masks, Gov. Greg Abbott doubled down on his ban on mask orders Tuesday.
Abbott said in a tweet, "the time for government mask mandates are over–now is the time for personal responsibility. Every Texan has the right to choose whether they will wear a mask or have their children wear masks."
During Monday's Austin ISD board meeting, some parents supported the governor's move.
"I am calling to remind AISD about their duty to educate," said one parent. "You are not medical professionals and your not my child's parent."
"Parents are responsible for the health of their children," said another parent. "We will choose if we mask our child. We will choose if we vaccinate our child."
The head of the Austin teacher's union, Ken Zarifis, said the governor's ban on mask mandates puts children in danger.
"He's playing games with everybody's child in this state, particularly those who can't be vaccinated, elementary kids," said Zarifis. "He's playing politics with elementary children."
Zweig's 8-year-old wrote a letter to the governor asking him to change his mind, so she doesn't have to change schools.
"Everyone needs a mask, or I can't go to the school until the shots and that will make me sad," said Zweig as she read her daughter's letter.
The CDC said that children should still return to full-time, in-person learning in the fall with proper COVID-19 prevention strategies in place.
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