Reopening of schools: Governors of Texas, California face heat as debate continues
LUBBOCK (US) – Texas Governor Greg Abbott said on Thursday he was doing all he can to keep students safe as most schools in the state are gearing up to reopen next week. His statement comes in a bid to reassure parents.
However, a top adviser to Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden’s campaign in the state flayed Republican Abbott for lack of planning and funding for safe reopening of schools, pointing out that the infection rate in Texas stood at a record 24.5% this week.
“What we learned from the reopening of the Texas economy is that if you don’t do it right, people are going to die,” said the adviser Mike Collier, adding that “Parents and teachers are being forced to make life and death decisions.”
The manner in which Abbott handles the reopening of schools and the pandemic will influence voters in the presidential poll in November.
The governor defended his decision to allow local school boards to decide when to reopen schools, restricting the power of local health officials to intervene and order a closure if there is an outbreak of COVID-19.
Abbott said that if schools follow all safety protocols, then in-person classes will not cause the infection to spread.
“The ways that COVID-19 will most likely spread in the school setting is in gatherings after school is over,” Abbott said.
He said the virus is being spread through small, informal gatherings with friends and family, urging parents and teachers to dissuade students from gathering.
Abbott exhorted people of the state to be vigilant and take safety precautions as Labor Day weekend approaches. “It’s important people don’t let their guard down like they did during Memorial Day weekend,” he said, pointing out that it was a “big spreading” event in Texas.
Meanwhile, a group of parents and Republicans in California have moved the court seeking a reversal of Governor Gavin Newsom’s mandate that schools in counties on the COVID-19 watchlist should remain closed during the autumn.
“What we’re seeking in the lawsuit is that the governor get out of the way and let local parents, local school boards and small schools make these decisions themselves,” Harmeet Dhillon, Republican National Committee member from California and lawyer said.
(Photos syndicated via Reuters)
This story has been edited by BH staff and is published from a syndicated field