EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s issuance of an executive order prohibiting schools from requiring students, teachers, parents or other staff to wear masks on campuses after June 4 has one El Paso teacher concerned.
“Shocked, I guess, was the first thought that came to mind,” said Patricia Amezaga, who teaches 7th grade physical education in the El Paso Independent School District.
“We have just now started vaccinating kids this age. I teach middle school, so kids this age are just now getting the opportunity to get their vaccine and we don’t even know how many kids are going to get vaccinated,” said Amezaga.
She said that while the school year is coming to an end, she still will have two-and-a-half weeks with her students after June 4.
“I want to get rid of my mask too, but when the time is right and I know that every kid, or most every kid, will come in here without a mask come June the 4,” said Amezaga.
Shawn Hudson, an El Paso father of four, has a 16-year-old daughter in school and said he will leave it up to her whether or not she wants to continue wearing a mask after June 4.
“I think that it’s a good thing. I was happy to hear that the governor put that out,” said Hudson.
Hudson said that he and his older children, who are in their 20s, have been vaccinated for COVID-19, but he does not feel comfortable with his younger children getting the vaccine yet.
KTSM 9 News reached out to EPISD about their mask policy for June. The district says they are awaiting guidance from the TEA. A spokesperson said after June 4, masks will still be encouraged.
“We will continue to enforce a mask requirement until June 4. After that, based on our understanding of the governor’s orders, we will encourage students, staff and visitors to use a face mask while on District facilities,” Gustavo Reveles, a spokesperson for EPISD, wrote in an email sent to KTSM.
Officials with the Ysleta Independent School District said masks will be required until June 4 and after that, they will follow TEA guidance. Socorro Independent School District said it will “incorporate the legal mandate into the district’s plans post-June 4.” Officials with the San Elizario School District officials said that after June 4 it will be individuals’ choice on whether or not they want to wear a mask and IDEA Public Schools will no longer require masks starting June 7.
The City of El Paso recently added a new table to their COVID-19 data to include the vaccination rate of youth ages 12 to15. According to data on epstrong.org, those aged 12 to 15 years of age make up 1.01 percent of overall vaccinations in El Paso.
The president of the El Paso Teachers Association said she’s hoping more students will get vaccinated before the fall semester.
“It’s very concerning that children between those ages have not gone and received the vaccine yet and you know I think a lot of that has to do with the parent’s decision,” said Norma De La Rosa, EPTA president.