As COVID-19 numbers surge higher at Plano schools than at any point last year, the Plano ISD Board of Trustees approved a temporary mask mandate during an Aug. 23 emergency meeting. However, that mandate comes with exceptions for medical, religious or philosophical reasons.
The vote passed by a margin of 6-1. Trustee Angela Powell was the lone dissenting vote.
Under the new guidelines, which go into effect on Thursday, Aug. 26, all students, staff and visitors will be required to wear masks at all Plano ISD indoor facilities and district transportation. The mandate will be in effect until Sept. 24 unless litigation or legislative action negates it sooner.
Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order GA-38 originally prohibited mask requirements in public schools. However, a ruling by the Texas Supreme Court last week left in place a Travis County judge’s temporary restraining order against Abbott’s ban. That opened the door for the Texas Education Agency to provide new guidelines to school districts.
Parents wanting to exempt their children from the mask rules will be required to go to the Plano ISD website and fill out an official exemption form.
As of Aug. 20, there were 190 student cases of COVID-19 in Plano schools. That’s higher than at any point during the previous school year when the number of daily positive cases peaked at 185 on Jan. 14. Thirty Plano ISD staff members have also tested positive for COVID as of last Friday