In a statement Friday, Gov. Greg Abbott said local health authorities can shut down schools if there’s evidence of an outbreak after students have already returned to campus — but cannot shut them down weeks before schools open.

His statement backs a legal opinion released by the Texas attorney general issued on Tuesday.

But Abbott, who issued the statement with top education officials, said school districts could apply for waivers to keep their buildings closed beyond the state’s eight-week maximum if they believe they need one. The Texas Education Agency will review those requests on a “case-by-case basis,” according to the statement.

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