As Health Authority for Fort Bend County, I count it a privilege to be called to serve my friends and neighbors during a challenging and treacherous season for our County and its residents. It is my job and sworn duty to protect the public health under the legal guidance of Chapters 121, 122, and 341 of the Texas Health and Safety Code.
To this end, Fort Bend County Health & Human Services (HHS) has spent the past 17 months working to support school districts by providing data, attending town halls, answering questions of school board members and parents, educating school nurses. Our staff have also supported schools by coordinating testing and vaccination, participating in forums, sending infection prevention teams to campuses and providing recommendations specific for our County school districts based on the guidelines provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Governor’s Executive Order GA38 suspended Chapters 121, 122, and 341 of the Texas Health and Safety Code and prohibited school districts from fully implementing guidance that would mitigate disease transmission during a time when our County is experiencing a significant spread of COVID-19. As such, Fort Bend County requested and was granted Temporary Restraining Order to allow for school districts and local municipalities to take the necessary actions to protect the health of students, staff, employees and residents in their specific jurisdictions.
Based on my experience with the deliberate and thoughtful decision making of school leaders to reduce the spread of disease during the previous school year, and the data provided on the growing severity of disease in our County, I am certain that the Independent School Districts Boards of Trustees will not wait until a disease outbreak has occurred affecting their campuses, students and staff before extraordinary measures are required to stop the spread of disease in schools and communities. We trust that these Boards of Trustees will act in the best interest of those they serve and implement the public health standard of care described by the Centers for Disease Control, which state:
Due to the circulating and highly contagious Delta variant, CDC recommends universal indoor masking by all students (age 2 and older), staff, teachers, and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status.