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The followimg is from Dr. Bates' July 29, 2021 correspondence to parents:
July 29, 2021

Dear FSHISD Families,
I hope this communication finds you and your family in good health and spirit. Hopefully this summer you an your family were able to enjoy some relaxation and have some fun. August is fast approaching and before you know it, the first day of school (August 16th) will be upon us. My staff and I are excited to get this school year started. We have missed our students and families.
I want to thank the parents who have reached out to us to ask questions in regards to opening school and COVID. While many have received their COVID vaccinations, COVID is still among us. We know that children under 12 are not able to get vaccinated as of yet. I am reaching out to our families to inform them of what we know as of this date.
Governor Greg Abbott issued an executive order on May 18 that prohibited Texas public schools from requiring masks. “No student, teacher, parent, or other staff member or visitor may be required to wear a face covering,”\ according to the order. Texas lawmakers failed to pass a bill that would have continued funding districts for remote/virtual learning. As a result, FSHISD is unable to require staff and students to wear masks in our schools or to offer remote/virtual learning. Please know FSHISD will continue to provide a learning environment that addresses the health, safety, and emotional well-being of our students and staff. We will continue the following practices:
● Each campus has a registered nurse who is available to parents.
● Hand-sanitizing stations and disposable wipes will remain in schools and in classrooms.
● Students and staff will be encouraged to wash their hands frequently throughout the day.
● Water fountains will remain closed. We encourage students to bring refillable water bottles; water bottle filling stations are available at the campuses.
● Students and staff experiencing health symptoms that are not normal for them, such as loss of taste or smell, cough, difficulty breathing, headache, chills, significant muscle pain or aches, nausea, or diarrhea should seek medical treatment.
● Students and staff will need to follow normal health protocols about school attendance, which means staying home in these situations:
      • When experiencing fever of 100.0 degrees Fahrenheit or higher
      •  Until fever free for at least 24 hours with no fever-reducing medications
As we move forward, I believe it is important that parents are aware of the current recommendations from San Antonio Metro Health, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). On July 28th, Metro Health recommends that students, teachers and staff use masks while indoors, including on school buses. Also in July the CDC stated “As we start the 2021-22 school year, a large portion of students are not eligible to be vaccinated and there are COVID variants that are more contagious. Because of this and because we want to have all students in school, the AAP advocates for all students, teachers and staff to wear masks while indoors in school”. The CDC released on July 27th that it recommends masks for everyone in schools whether vaccinated or not vaccinated. As a result of the above organizations recommendations, we are strongly encouraging our staff and students to wear masks when indoors and on our buses.

As we move forward into the opening of our school year, please know we plan to continue informing the San Antonio Metro Health District of our COVID cases and notifying parents of positive COVID cases at their child’s school. We have a responsibility as a school system to be responsible for all students and we want more than anything to keep our schools open for in-person instruction and for our parents to be able to continue to work and provide for their families. I believe it takes all of us as a community to come together and practice protocols that will minimize the spread of COVID and keep our students, staff and families healthy. WE MUST WORK TOGETHER TO ENSURE THE SAFETY OF OUR STUDENTS. Thank you for putting our kids first!

As we move into August, if there are any changes I will let you know. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to your child’s school. I look forward to seeing our students on August 16th!

Gary Bates, Ph.D.
Superintendent of Schools