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Austin doctor recommends school districts require face masks when students return for fall semester

Following Gov. Greg Abbott's announcement for students to return to Texas schools in the fall, local physicians are weighing in.

AUSTIN, Texas — After months of uncertainty, Texas parents finally have a clear answer: students will be asked to return to school in the fall for classes. 

Speaking with state lawmakers Thursday afternoon, Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath said the Texas Education Agency will allow each school district to decide whether they want to make face masks a requirement. 

RELATED: Texas students will return to school campuses this fall, Gov. Greg Abbott tells lawmakers

Dr. Devry Anderson, the chief medical officer at St. David's South Austin Medical Center, strongly recommends districts enforce masks.

"I think it's important for schools to follow the CDC guidelines, make sure they're doing proper spacing and trying to position the students six feet apart whenever possible to prevent the respiratory spread," Dr. Anderson said. "It's the right thing to do."

With an increase in local hospitalizations, Dr. Anderson said they are seeing some patients who have waited too long to seek medical attention and others who don't grasp the severity of the virus. 

RELATED: ‘This is unacceptable’ | Education Austin president says opening schools this fall isn’t safe

"I think there's a growing perception of 'this is not going to affect me,' especially in our younger population. For the folks that think they're going to be fine, I just want to encourage you to be conscientious about who else you can spread the disease to in your community," Dr. Anderson said.

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