GISD Board of Trustees discuss back-to-school district procedures
Graham ISD presented its back-to-school procedures for the 2021-2022 school year during a school board meeting Wednesday. The guidance included isolation and quarantine protocols for those with COVID-19 or those in close contact with a positive COVID-19 individual.
The local back-to-school procedures for the district can change depending on guidance from the Texas Education Agency, who released their own public health guidance Aug. 5 for districts in the state. The district will also be monitoring the local health situation as it unfolds through the year and communicating with Young County Local Health Authority, Dr. Pat Martin, for potential updates to their local guidelines.
Under the campus operations section of the back-to-school procedures, masks will be optional this year for students and staff after being mandated last year. Per Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s Executive Order GA-38, the district cannot mandate students or staff to wear masks.
“Right now the executive order is that we cannot mandate masks. Right now, the way we are moving (forward) in the school year, is that masks are optional for students and/or staff. We welcome people to do it (and) we encourage people to get the vaccination,” GISD Superintendent Sonny Cruse said Wednesday. “(...) We are not mandating either one of those things at this time.”
Social distancing will be encouraged, but not required in the upcoming school year. The school will continue to allow time for handwashing and provide instruction on appropriate “respiratory etiquette and hand sanitizing.” Signage and reminders will be posted throughout the district and hand sanitizer will be available at all campuses for students, staff and visitors. Students will also be allowed this year to use water fountains and campus hydration stations to fill personal water bottles.
Dr. Martin, who is also a school board member, spoke on the district not mandating masks this year during the meeting Wednesday.
“Right now, kids still are not being impacted as much as adults and adults have had the option of getting the vaccine,” Dr. Martin said. “People who’ve had the vaccine are not getting sick and so I feel like our efforts were mainly to protect teachers and this year teachers have had the opportunity to get the vaccine. I think we should encourage people to wear masks. (...) I think that should just be our statement now. We encourage you to wear masks. The American Pediatric Association recommends masks, the CDC recommends masks, but I wouldn’t be in favor of mandating masks.”
For the rest of the story, see the Aug. 14 edition of The Graham Leader.