CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Michelle Avalos, mother to two West Oso ISD students, knows all too well how devastating COVID-19 can be.
In March of last year, her husband's grandmother died from the novel coronavirus. And then in November, Avalos herself lost her grandfather.
Both of them were in their 80s, and now she is trying to protect the youngest potential COVID-19 victims.
"My children are still too young to be vaccinated, so I’m just here to be their advocate and be their voice," Avalos said.
She was one of two people to take part in the public comment section of Monday's special-called meeting of the West Oso ISD School Board.
Soon after Avalos finished speaking, the school board unanimously passed a mask mandate for students, teachers, and staff members in all of the district's schools.
“Our children are our most precious commodity," WOISD Executive Director of Special Education and Student Services R.J. Alvarado said. "We don’t want anything to happen with them. With the Delta variant, it is attacking children."
Even with the more contagious and deadly form of the coronavirus spreading in Corpus Christi and across the state, the Texas Supreme Court recently upheld Governor Greg Abbott's ban on local governments instituting mask mandates.
West Oso, like several other Texas school districts, has chosen to defy the ban despite the governor's threats of fines and court battles.
“At this point, my superintendent Mr. Conrado Garcia will be dealing in that situation should it come," Alvarado said. "But we’re trying to do what’s in the best interest of our students and staff members at this time.”
Avalos couldn't agree more.
"I know it’s not going to completely stop the spread, but it will hopefully slow the spread," she said. "As someone who’s lost two family members from this, I take this very serious."