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Johnson City, Lexington ISDs won't require face masks starting Wednesday

The Johnson City ISD Board of Trustees voted 4-3 to remove the mask mandate.

TEXAS, USA — After Gov. Greg Abbott's executive order lifting coronavirus safety restrictions across the state of Texas effecting March 10, KVUE has heard from a couple Central Texas school districts that have decided not to keep enforcing face masks on campus.

Lexington ISD

After sending out two surveys to the school community, the Lexington ISD school board voted to end the mask requirement across the district.

A letter to LISD parents can be read below:

March 9, 2021

LISD Parents, 

I wanted to send you a quick letter to give you information about the board’s decision last night. First, let me say that it was not an easy decision for them. They looked at the survey results, recommendations, and other data. They read every comment on the surveys, and they discussed and debated for over an hour. The results of both surveys, indicated a 60% for eliminating the masks, and 40% for keeping the masks. The board ultimately decided to eliminate the mask requirement for the district. We will still support anyone who wishes to wear a mask, but they will not be required, as of Wednesday, March 10, 2021. The district will continue to operate with a no visitors on campus policy, and we will clean and disinfect daily. We will also follow the contact tracing and quarantine protocols. We encourage social distancing, frequent hand washing, and isolation for any COVID-19 symptoms. We will continue to work together to keep our students and our staff safe and healthy. 

We have people in the district who feel very strongly on both sides of this issues, and so I urge you to be respectful about the masks. If someone chooses to continue wearing a mask, let’s be respectful of their decision. Please encourage your students to respect others and their opinions. There aren’t any cut and dry, right and wrong choices in this situation. There is still so much unknown, and everyone has their own personal situations and concerns. It is okay to disagree and still be polite and respectful. So please be kind! 

Based on the comments of the survey, we know there will be considerations for withdrawing students based on this decision. We urge you to give us a chance to work through all of this, and to keep every student safe and healthy. Your children are our priority, and we want them in the district! If you have questions or concerns, please contact the campus offices or you may contact the superintendent’s office. 

Sincerely,
Tonya Knowlton, Ed. D.
LISD Superintendent of Schools

Johnson City ISD

Johnson City ISD students and staff will no longer be required to wear face coverings starting on Wednesday.

This comes after Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order to lift the state's mask mandate on Wednesday and gave the Texas Education Agency the authority to implement requirements in public schools. The TEA issued guidance that said local school boards have full authority to determine their local mask policy.

JCISD Superintendent Richard Kolek sent a letter to students, parents and staff and said the Johnson City ISD Board of Trustees voted 4-3 Monday night to lift face covering requirements. Going forward, face coverings will be optional for students and staff.

"Student and staff safety will always remain our top priority. Excluding face coverings, JCISD will continue all health protocols currently in place," Kolek said in a statement.

Many other school districts in Central Texas have said they will keep their mask requirements in place.

You can read the full letter that Johnson City ISD's superintendent sent on Tuesday below:

March 9, 2020

Parents, Students, and Staff,

Last night, the Johnson City ISD Board of Trustees met and decided in a  4-3 vote to remove the face covering mandate for JCISD.  Therefore, face coverings will become optional for students and staff beginning Wednesday, March 10, 2021.

According to Governor Abbott’s Executive Order and TEA Public Health Planning Guidance, all other current health protocols will remain in place.  This includes but not limited to:

  • Strongly encouraging face coverings when social distancing is not feasible
  • Parents must ensure they do not send a child to school if the child has COVID-19 symptoms or is test-confirmed with COVID-19
  • Contact tracing and requiring exposed students to stay-at-home 
  • Restricting visitors in schools to only those essential to school operations

 Student and staff safety will always remain our top priority.  Excluding face coverings, JCISD will continue all health protocols currently in place.

Respectfully,                                                                                       

Richard Kolek

JCISD Superintendent

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