Friday, September 29, 2023

COVID-19 Mask, Safety Protocols Remain In Place Until June 1

The Carroll School Board voted Monday evening to lift COVID-19 safety protocols, mask mandates, contact tracing and quarantine requirements beginning June 1, 2021. The decision came after nearly 100 public speakers on the topic and a presentation by members of the COVID-19 Response Team to change contact tracing/quarantine requirements and to keep mask requirements for the remainder of this school year.

The Texas Education Agency requires public school districts to continue to follow their guidance for mask and COVID-19 social distancing protocols through the end of the 2020-2021 school year unless the local School Board votes to make a change. Masks will be optional for summer school and summer camps. The district has announced, too, that as long as cases remain low, there will be no COVID-19 protocols in place when school starts in fall. Students will be encouraged to return for in-person instruction in August.

Tarrant County Public Health continues to encourage safety protocols through the end of the school year. They have, however, changed their recommendation regarding quarantine requirements. Individuals who are three feet or less apart and are masked are now exempt from quarantine requirements when one of the individuals tests positive for COVID-19. Being vaccinated can also now prevent an individual from being quarantined when they are identified as a close contact.

The COVID-19 Response Team recommended adding fourth graders to the less restrictive mask requirements when seated in the classroom. They would still be required when moving to and from locations inside the building per TEA recommendations. Masks are already optional when adults and students are outdoors. The recommendations approved by the Board also made masks optional in PE class for students in grades PK-4. End-of-year activities are being planned with safety protocols in place, but with a priority to allow parents to safely attend these events to celebrate their children.

CISD is planning to host prom and graduation for the senior Class of 2021; communications to the families of seniors will be sent from the campus administration soon. CISD Secondary Principals presented Monday night along with Lead Nurse Karen Flexer and Lauren Wurman, Executive Director of Personnel Services. They represent a large administrative response team that has been working with health officials at Tarrant County Public Health since last spring to manage successfully through the pandemic while giving Carroll ISD parents the choice between in-person and remote learning.

The main reason the staff did not recommend immediate changes to the mask mandate is because some families have just decided to send their kids back in-person for the fourth nine-week period, staff members do not have the choice to move exclusively to remote learning and testing arrangements for STAAR and End of Course exams are already in progress. Masks are still required on school buses until June 1. After June 1 masks would be optional for adults and students.

The COVID-19 Response Team conferred with other school districts in the area before making the recommendations. To see the PowerPoint presentation from Monday night’s meeting, click here.