ROCKWALL, Texas — On Wednesday, Brady Morris's sons will go back to school in-person at Williams Middle School with Rockwall Independent School District. It will be their first time back on campus since the coronavirus pandemic started.
"Tomorrow has me worried, as do the next several days," said Morris.
He's nervous about his kids being exposed to COVID-19.
At Rockwall ISD, a virtual learning option is available for kindergarten through sixth grade. But Morris's children are in seventh and eighth grade, so they have to learn in-person. He's concerned about the rise in COVID-19 cases, and especially concerned about the number of children hospitalized across North Texas.
Morris would be more comfortable sending his kids back to school if masks were required for everyone. But at Rockwall ISD, masks are encouraged.
The district tells WFAA, "Rockwall ISD remains steadfast to the health and safety of all students while complying with Governor Abbott's recent Governor's Executive Order GA-38." Optional mask wearing started in April 2021, and the district will continue this protocol.
Morris has seen other school districts nearby defy the order and require face coverings on campus, and he said he's pleaded for Rockwall ISD to do the same.
"I'm screaming into the void," said Morris. "Rockwall can do what the government ordered, or they can do the right thing, but they can't do both."
Morris said he will send his children to school for one week and see how it goes. His sons, both vaccinated, will wear masks throughout the day, and he has requested dividers for their desks. His biggest worry is for one of his kids and a family member at home who are both at high risk for severe COVID-19 symptoms.
While Morris wants to be optimistic about the district's COVID protocols, he is preparing for the worst. If he doesn't feel it's safe, or if his children get exposed to COVID-19, he's already in the process of enrolling them in an online homeschool academy as a backup.
Rockwall ISD's COVID-19 dashboard will be activated on the Thursday, August 19.