Posted Date: 03/05/2021
On Thursday, March 4, 2021, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) held a statewide conference call with superintendents to discuss the Governor’s Executive Order GA-34. Following TEA’s guidance, Warren ISD will continue its current practice of requiring face coverings for its students and employees. This decision will be reviewed at our upcoming Board meeting on March 22, 2021.
The current TEA guidance states, in part (page 7): “Schools must comply with the following requirements: Every student, teacher, or staff member shall wear a mask over the nose and mouth when inside a school building, school facility, facility used for school activities, or when in an outdoor space on school property…”. This guidance also applies to any adult visitor on a campus or school facility for any event or activity. Warren ISD will continue its social distancing and cleaning procedures as outlined in the “WISD Re-Entry Plan.”
Because the definition of “close contact” has not changed per the CDC or TEA guidelines, the elimination of masks would require a greater number of students/staff to be quarantined in the event there is contact with a person who tests positive (or is presumed positive) for COVID-19. Therefore, we have concluded that continuing to wear masks reduces the likelihood of having to quarantine large groups of students at one time. We know that students learn best in a face-to-face setting and Warren ISD is striving to provide a safe learning environment for all students and staff while also keeping our campuses open.
We acknowledge (and share) everyone’s desire for a return to normal, and we all expect for the safety of our staff and students to remain the top priority in our school district. Fortunately, Warren ISD has experienced a relatively low number of positive COVID-19 cases this year, and we believe this correlates to the safety procedures that have been in place to this point. Further, following these guidelines has allowed us to be able to participate in UIL and other extra-curricular activities and we all want that to continue!
Warren ISD is grateful that educators have now been included in the phased vaccine rollout. As vaccines continue to be widely distributed to educators and all citizens, district officials will assess and reevaluate the face-covering requirement each month with the Board, in light of the most recent data available to us.
As always, we wish to thank our employees, students and their families for their understanding and cooperation as we look forward to finishing the school year on a positive note. In support of our efforts to keep our kids in school, please continue to send your student to school with his/her mask each day.