Governor Abbott announced June 18 that Texas students will be returning to in classroom learning this fall.

Texas education officials confirmed the plans and also said when students return, school districts will not be required to mandate students wear masks or test them for COVID-19 symptoms, said Frank Ward, of the Texas Education Agency.

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Not everyone is happy about Governor Abbott’s announcement today.  Texas Democratic Party Communications Director Abhi Rahman said, "Abbott’s failed leadership has cost lives and has led to Texas becoming one of the most dangerous states to live in during this pandemic."

Texas school districts will be able to also offer instructional alternatives for students. The decision comes as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to rise statewide. Abbott has long said his intention is for students to return in-person this fall, saying this week that there will "definitely be higher safety standards in place than when they opened last year."

"It will be safe for Texas public school students, teachers, and staff to return to school campuses for in-person instruction this fall. But there will also be flexibility for families with health concerns so that their children can be educated remotely, if the parent so chooses," said Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath. Texas Education Agency officials are expected to release detailed guidance Tuesday on reopening school buildings amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, which caused the shutdown of campuses for the final two and a half months of the 2019-2020 school year.