MAP: RGV school districts’ COVID-19 guidelines (2021-2022)

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FILE – In this Jan. 11, 2021, file photo, preschool students eat lunch at Dawes Elementary in Chicago. Pressure is building on school systems around the U.S. to reopen classrooms to students who have been learning online for nearly a year, pitting politicians against teachers who have yet to be vaccinated against COVID-19. (Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Chicago Sun-Times via AP, Pool, File)

HARLINGEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — As schools prepare to return to in-person learning changes are being made to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in schools. However, in Texas, there are certain guidelines that cannot be enforced by local, school authorities.

In May, Gov. Greg Abbott issued a mandate prohibiting counties, cities, school districts, public health authorities and government officials from requiring masks.

Several districts in the RGV have taken action and are joining a lawsuit against Gov. Greg Abbott for the ability to enforce masks at a local level.

La Joya ISD was the first district in the RGV to issues a mask mandate for all students, staff, teachers, and visitors. Other districts have started to follow.

On Aug. 13, Hidalgo County and Starr County issued a mask mandate for all area schools.

Below is an interactive map with the latest information from each school district, zoom in to look for your district:

The Texas Education Agency (TEA) updated its COVID-19 health guidelines for on-campus instruction, non-UIL sports, and overall student activities on August 5.

The guidelines mentioned Texas school districts would not be required to conduct contact tracing this year if a student contracts COVID-19.

Gov. Abbott issued the above statement to KXAN following the decision of Austin ISD to implement the use of masks in their district.

The TEA also said a district should notify parents if it learns of a student who has been in close contact with someone with the virus. But with the relaxation of contact tracing, broad notifications will not be mandatory, reported The Texas Tribune.

Thursday, Aug. 12, ValleyCentral held a discussion with local superintendents and health experts to answer your questions. To watch click here.

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Editor’s note: This story will continue to be updated.

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