In a press conference Tuesday afternoon, March 31, Gov. Greg Abbott stated that social distancing is working and "now is not the time to let up, but the time to redouble our efforts."
Based on the advice from President Donald Trump and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and other highly regarded professionals, the governor ordered that schools are to remain closed until Monday, May 4, in order to curb the spread of COVID-19.
"We won't change our current operation. Taylor ISD will remain closed-instructing until May 4 under the governor's order," said Taylor ISD Superintendent Keith Brown.
He said meals will continue to be provided, including dinner which began earlier this week. On Tuesday, 726 meals were served.
"Everything will continue as it has been recently," he said.
Recently, the district moved to online instruction due to the Stay Home Stay Safe Order and need for social distancing. Curriculum packets are available when students pick up lunches. Brown said parents are happy to have access to learning materials.
"We continue to learn how to do our closed instructing better everyday," he said. "Parents are really excited to get the work and letting the kids see the teachers when they come by."
With the extension, it is yet to be seen if schools will close for the remainder of the school year.
"As fluid as this situation is, I will just wait for the governor to make that determination," he said.
Brown said he is amazed at the creativity and hard work of the staff during this unique time.
"I'm very proud of our staff for all of their effort and all their caring and thoughtful ideas they've had to try to connect with our students," he said. "I'm proud of our parents for coming up and picking up materials and being patient with us."
Teachers have had video instruction and digitally providing learning opportunities for students.
"Our main focus is that everybody stays safe and stays home," he said. "From the school point of view, we will provide as much instruction and support to our students as we can."
Shortly after the press conference, Thrall ISD sent out a message on social media extending their closure until May 1.
During the press conference, Abbott also issued an extension to his previous social distancing guidelines, an "essential services and essential activities order," to be in place until April 30.
The extension states that Texans are to continue limiting their interactions while still maintaining the freedom to proceed with essential daily activities such as grocery shopping, so long as good social distancing is practiced.
"Local jurisdictions do still have the flexibility to impose standards that they may consider stricter," Abbott said.
Infrastructure sectors considered essential are:
• Healthcare / public health
• Law enforcement, public safety, and other first responders
• Food and agriculture
• Water and wastewater
• Transportation and logistics
• Public works and infrastructure support services
• Communications and information technology
• Other community- or government-based operations and essential functions
• Critical manufacturing
• Hazardous materials
• Financial services
• Defense industrial base
• Commercial facilities
• Residential/shelter facilities and services
• Hygiene products and services
The governor also added that religious services may continue, either remotely or by following the guidelines from the president and CDC for social distancing.
As of Tuesday, March 31, there are 3,266 Texans who have tested positive for COVID-19 and 41 have died.