AUSTIN, Texas — Editor's note: Austin ISD decided Aug. 9 to require masks for all students, staff and visitors. This goes against an executive order from Gov. Greg Abbott.
While getting a tour of a local school, CNN's Evan McMorris-Santoro asked Elizalde if she thought it was safe to send kids back to school despite no mask requirements:
"It is safe. It is not as safe as it could be," she said. "So, again, as simple as the word sounds, we have to keep balancing it out."
Elizalde said many safety protocols will be in place when school begins in the next few weeks, such as air filters, plexiglass, social distancing and grouping students in closely monitored pods. Outdoor learning spaces have also been created in some schools.
Elizalde said she wants to enforce masks, even though she can't.
"I have in my mind, 'What if a child dies on my watch?' How do I go say to you, 'I'm really sorry, we did everything we could. The governor's executive order kept me from ...' What does that do to a parent?" Elizalde said.
According to CNN, there are other states where mask mandates are banned: Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Utah, Arizona, Iowa and South Carolina. Florida's governor has also banned mask mandates.
Due to a federal mask mandate for public transportation, AISD will still be able to enforce face masks on school buses.