Mask Protocol for Remainder of 2020-2021 School Year
Willis ISD Board of Trustees met today in a special meeting to discuss and consider health and safety protocols related to COVID-19. With only ten weeks remaining in the school year, the board voted unanimously to continue with the established safety protocols we have implemented all year, including the requirement that all staff and students wear masks / face coverings at school. We will still enforce our existing mask protocols and social distancing requirements. This decision is based on many factors including:
- We have an obligation and duty to protect our staff members. Texas teachers were just added to the vaccine eligibility list last week. Our teachers have been given the opportunity to obtain their first vaccine during Spring Break, with their second dose 28 days later. This means that our staff who choose to be vaccinated are only just now presented with that opportunity, and won’t be fully vaccinated until at least early May. Until our teachers have had the opportunity to obtain both doses of the vaccine, it would be irresponsible to discontinue our current practices.
- The Montgomery County Public Health District and the Montgomery County Office of Homeland Security urge everyone in our area to continue practicing healthy habits to protect our community against COVID-19. These practices include frequent hand washing, social distancing, sanitizing of heavily touched surfaces, and wearing face coverings.
- The safety protocols we have practiced all year, including masks, have kept Willis ISD from having widespread transmission of COVID-19 in our schools, which has allowed us to continue to hold in-person school for the students of Willis.
- The close contact definition and quarantine for exposure guidelines from CDC and TEA have not changed. If the school district were to make masks optional, the number of students and staff who would have to quarantine for close contact would triple. We are already short on substitute teachers needed for teachers who are out. We would not be able to keep schools open if that were the case.
- Closures in the spring of 2020 meant many activities our students look forward to were cancelled, including spring sports, UIL competitions, theatre and choir shows, prom, Class of 2020 (regular) graduation, and the list goes on. Our primary goal in maintaining these standards all year has been to protect the school year and retain some normalcy for our students. It is imperative that we don’t stray the course now.
The safety of our students and staff is our most important consideration. We appreciate your continued support as we fulfill our mission to provide a high quality education for all students in a safe and secure environment.