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Gov. Greg Abbott visited Corpus Christi on July 28 to survey damage caused by Hurricane Hanna which made landfall the previous Saturday. Abbott used his time there to talk about slowing the spread of COVID-19 and the reopening of schools. (Contributed photo)

CORPUS CHRISTI – Governor Greg Abbott visited Corpus Christi to meet with Nueces County officials and survey storm damage left by Hurricane Hanna over the weekend. 

The governor thanked officials for their leadership during these difficult times and reaffirmed the Lone Star State’s commitment to helping the victims of Hurricane Hanna. Abbott was joined by Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) Chief Nim Kidd for the visit.

Hurricane Hanna made landfall on July 25 in South Texas and the Rio Grande Valley, while San Patricio County was spared serious harm, it did cause widespread damage in the surrounding areas from heavy rain, flash flooding and riverine flooding; damage from hurricane-force winds and high water surges were evident in Corpus Christi and its beaches.

“The State of Texas is committed to providing our communities with the resources they need to recover from Hurricane Hanna,” Gov. Abbott said. “Together, we will rebuild and ensure a more resilient future for communities throughout the Coastal Bend.”

Gov. Abbott also said that people need to understand that just because a hurricane swept through here, it does not mean that it has swept out COVID-19. 

“COVID-19 is still here,” he continued. “It is not going away until there are medicines capable of treating it. There’s only one thing that we can do to contain the spread of COVID-19, and that is the best practices that include things like wearing face masks, hand sanitizing, keeping your distance from others. We all want to get back to business as quickly as possible, and the best way to return to businesses is by everyone following the best safe practices to ensure everyone does their part to reduce the spread.”

Abbott also said that residents need to stop family gatherings as well because people are thinking it’s okay to have large gatherings. He added that just because people are related doesn’t mean it is safe for them all to come together.

When it came to reopening schools, Gov. Abbott said that the decision was made to ensure that the decision-making process would be at the school board level because there are so many different factors that must be weighed upon such as what is the status of children and what are the capabilities of a particular school.

“Understand that one school will have certain safety capabilities that some other school may not have,” Abbott said. “What are the needs of the parents of the students in that particular region? Are there more students who have certain extra needs that need to be met?

“And so there are so many different factors that differ from one school to another, which is exactly why the best decision making authority is going to be the local school board.”

The governor became audibly perturbed when someone in the audience asked him what was going to happen in schools after the allowed eight weeks of online instruction only expires.

“Tell me what the status of COVID will be after that eight weeks,” he said with no response. “Exactly. Now, my point is neither you, nor I, nor anybody can say what the status of COVID is going to be after that eight weeks, which by the way, occurs after the next five weeks.

“That’s so far down the road it’s impossible for anybody to understand. When dealing with a pandemic with a constantly changing coronavirus, it’s important that government be as nimble as the coronavirus, and hence, we will maintain that flexibility in our education system, understanding that the first and foremost priority in this educational year is going to be the health and safety of students, teachers and parents.

“We will do whatever is necessary to achieve that goal, whether it be when school begins after four weeks or after eight weeks or after 10 weeks.”

Paul Gonzales is a reporter at The News of San Patricio and can be reached at 361-364-1270, or by email at pgonzales@mysoutex.com.

 

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