To mask or not to mask, that is the question school districts are weighing after Gov. Greg Abbott lifted the statewide face covering mandate starting Wednesday, March 10. Staff photo by Daniel Clifton
The Marble Falls Independent School District is gathering input from parents and staff as well as other data as it weighs changes to its face covering policy.
The district emailed a survey link to parents.
On March 2, Gov. Greg Abbott announced he was rescinding his July 2020 order as of Wednesday, March 10, that required people to wear face coverings in public spaces, including schools. With the rule gone, school boards can decide their own policies regarding the practice.
The Texas Education Agency announced March 3 that its face covering requirement on school facilities remained unchanged; however, it added the caveat that a “governing board of a school system may modify or eliminate by formal action the above mask-related requirements.”
As MFISD gathers input, the face covering rule remains in place.
“There will be no changes to the MFISD health and safety plan, including the masks requirement, any earlier than March 22, 2021,” according to a message from MFISD Superintendent Dr. Chris Allen. This is the date of the district’s next school board meeting. “The school board and administration recognize that there are strong opinions on both sides of the mask issue, and we want to be thoughtful about any changes.”
The MFISD information gathering process also will look at substitute teacher data, vaccine availability, COVID-19 prevalence and patterns in Burnet County, face covering trends within the community, and decisions of other area school districts.
Administrators will receive data and advice from medical professionals on the issue.
“It is our intention to synthesize all of this information and formulate a recommendation that is fact based, sensitive to various points-of-view, and recognizes the recent improvements in our ability to mitigate the prevalence and spread of COVID-19,” Allen’s emailed message stated. “We appreciate your patience as we undertake a methodical, thorough, and sensitive process.”
The email with the parent survey was sent Monday, March 8. If you are a parent or guardian of an MFISD student and did not receive the email, contact your student’s campus.