On Tuesday, March 2, Texas Governor Greg Abbott released updates to COVID mandates for the state. These changes include rescinding the state-wide mask requirement and public area capacity limits starting next week.
At IDEA Public Schools, we remain steadfast in the belief that our health and safety protocols have been the key to mitigating the spread of COVID-19 in our schools and communities. Study after study has reaffirmed this belief, and we will continue to operate under the latest recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and local and state health authorities in an effort to keep our scholars and communities safe. In doing so, we will maintain all current health and safety protocols.
We will continue to operate by our core safety protocols including:
- Health screenings before entering buildings
- Masks will be worn at all times
- Hand sanitation before entering building and throughout the school day
- Sanitation of frequently touched surfaces
- Social distancing to the extent possible
Though the mask mandate has been lifted, we strongly encourage all Team & Family members to please to remain vigilant and follow all recommended health and safety protocols both on and off campus.
As you might be aware, a third COVID-19 vaccine was approved this past weekend. Immunization opportunities are starting to expand and become more prevalent. Cases and hospitalizations in the U.S. have fallen significantly in the past two months. However, the improvement in statistics is not completely due to the COVID-19 vaccines; only 15% of the population is immunized, according to the CDC.
Another primary driver of decreases in cases and hospitalizations is that more and more people in our country are adopting the safety behaviors that we have implemented since March 2020. However, this is not the time to let our guard down. Since IDEA Public Schools’ first day—21 years tomorrow—our biggest responsibility and commitment to our Team & Family was to cultivate a safe learning environment. Though the mask mandate has been lifted, we strongly encourage all Team & Family members to please stay diligent and continue to follow COVID-19 safety recommendations.
We are excited by the approval of a third COVID-19 vaccine and the expansion of immunization opportunities across our communities, but the facts that the world is still in the midst of the pandemic and that our loved ones are still at risk remain top of mind.
The pandemic may have changed what it means to have a “safe learning environment,” but the gravity to which we took this commitment remained the same. That is why we invested millions of dollars this school year to fund large-scale facility improvements—MERV 13 air filters, handwashing and hand sanitizer stations, auto-flush kits for restrooms, water bottle filling stations, and more—in addition to the stockpile of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for those on our campuses. Our teams also worked to implement a COVID-19 testing program for staff and students; to date, over 12,600 tests have been administered. We are also working around the clock to increase access to vaccines for our Team & Family.
If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, please stay home and contact your physician. You can access our most up-to-date health recommendations, information and resources, our health and safety protocols, and links to the CDC and state health departments on our website at ideapublicschools.org/back2school2020/health-and-safety-information.