Texas school districts should decide for themselves when to start, governor says


SAN ANTONIO (News Nation/KXAN) — Gov. Greg Abbott says Texas schools will have the personal protective equipment (PPE) they need to start the 2020-21 school year — whenever school districts decide for themselves when they want to open.

On Tuesday, Abbott gave an update on the state’s supply of PPE at the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) in San Antonio, where he explained that the state has already made steps to get schools the protection they need so school can begin as scheduled.

Abbott reiterated, however, that no one date should be decided by the state or by local health officials. He urged that people who are elected to make decisions for schools — school boards, superintendents — should decide what’s right for them.

“As it concerns when schools open, we need to make sure they’re not bound by any date dictated months in advance by a local public health authority,” Abbott said.

“What may apply to one school district in one region of Texas could be completely different from what may apply to a different school district in a different region,” Abbott added. “Hence, there will be the local flexibility — so local school districts will be able to meet the education needs of their students, parents and teachers.”

According to Abbott, the TDEM has provided Texas schools with over 59 million masks, 567,948 gallons of sanitizer, 511,294 face shields, and 24,017 thermometers. Abbott says some of the PPE is being paid for by the federal CARES Act and the state of Texas.

The state has also set up 40 warehouses across the state to make sure schools continue having PPE they need throughout the year, TDEM Chief Nim Kidd explained during the briefing.

Later in the day, the Abbott will visit McAllen for an update on the opening of the McAllen Convention Center, which will be converted into a health care facility to help alleviate hospital capacity in the area.

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