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Local special needs families say lifted mask mandate will cause more headaches

Published: Mar. 3, 2021 at 7:00 PM CST
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KILLEEN, Texas (KWTX) - Special needs families say Gov. Greg Abbott’s decision to lift the state’s mask mandate will make life trickier for them.

“I had the biggest sense of dread of what was to come,” said one special needs parent who asked to be identified only by her first name, Brandie.

“With not having this mask mandate in place, it’s going to leave us so much more vulnerable to bringing stuff home to him — to my son, Devon,” she said.

Devon had a stroke four years ago and now is at greater risk of infection from COVID-19.

He has been learning at home throughout the pandemic, but other members of the family have to go to work and school.

She said the family has worked “really hard” to keep Devon safe, but the lifted mask mandate makes things much more dangerous.

“A lot of parents in the special needs community are nervous about this,” Brandie said.

“This makes us even have to be more cautious, more aware of our surroundings, more aware of where we’re going, where we’re taking our children, who’s around them, who could potentially be exposing them,” she said.

Brandie also said that she worries that her daughter’s school will not require masks.

Earlier on Wednesday, the Texas Education Agency left the decision of whether schools should require masks up to local school boards.

For now, Devon also cannot receive a vaccine.

“Even to register with the county, he has to be 18 to do that — to get on the wait list for McLennan County, and everywhere else that I’ve tried is booked up,” Brandie said.

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