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Abbott on schools starting back up in the fall: 'We will need to be flexible'

The governor spoke with KENS 5's Deborah Knapp on Tuesday about the ongoing COVID-19 crisis and Texas's response to it.

SAN ANTONIO — As Texas reports 10,028 new cases of the coronavirus on Tuesday – a grim new high for the Lone Star State during the ongoing pandemic – Gov. Greg Abbott joined KENS 5 in the afternoon to discuss the state's most recent efforts to mitigate the spread of the disease.

When asked about the possibility of issuing more restrictions in light of worsening COVID-19 trends, Abbott referred to his recent mask order, saying that we won't see the fallout from it for another couple weeks. In the meantime, he says, it's about balancing economic security with safety. 

"If local officials will ensure that those mask orders are complied with, we will be able to continue to slow the spread of the coronavirus while also allowing people to go to work, earn a paycheck, to put food on their table and pay their bills," Abbott said. 

Earlier in the day on Tuesday, Texas education officials released safety guidelines in anticipation of students returning to schools in the fall, including the usage of masks in accordance with Abbott's order. The governor suggested the plan may effectively be considered preliminary, and schools should be on high-alert for adjusting on the fly in regards to the most current developments in the health crisis. 

"A key word for education this coming year is 'flexibility.' We will need to be flexible based on the facts on the ground at that particular time," Abbott said. "School districts can work with the (Texas Education Agency) at the time that schools are opening up to determine what would be the best practice. In the weeks between now and when schools open, my executive order can change in regards to the usage of masks."

Meanwhile, with just days to go until the Texas GOP holds an in-person convention in Houston, Abbott kept open the possibility that he would attend.

"We will continue to see what the standards are that will be issued to determine what the possibilty will be for being able to attend," he said. 

The full conversation between Abbott and KENS 5's Deborah Knapp can be viewed below. 

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