Plano Schools to Consider Mask Mandate Monday

Plano ISD currently has more positive COVID-19 cases involving students than it has had at any previous point in the pandemic.

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The Plano Independent School board will consider making masks mandatory in its schools during an emergency session on Monday morning.

The Plano ISD Board of Trustees met at 8 a.m. Monday with masks being the only topic on its agenda.

As many as 90 people signed up for 1-minute comment periods during the meeting, which began after board members met privately with legal staff.

"For them, I am sure it is difficult but I think what is right is always it should always triumph. What science says is correct," said Haipei Jiang, whose child attends the district.

"My concern is that they think it is effective and it is not going to be effective. They think the schools are a major problem, but they are not a major problem," said Michael Openshaw, another parent.

To date, the district has not required masks in its schools, in keeping with Gov. Greg Abbott’s original order banning mask mandates in the State of Texas. But earlier this month, Plano ISD sent a letter to the Governor asking for local control on the matter.

“The Board firmly supports the recommendations of the Texas Department of State Health Services and CDC to use face coverings to mitigate the spread of COVID-19,” the Board noted on its website. “We strongly encourage and recommend all members of our Plano ISD community to use face coverings.”

Information provided by the Plano ISD shows that it has more students currently combatting COVID-19 than it has at any previous point during the pandemic. On Aug. 12, the second day of the school year, there were 60 students in Plano ISD with COVID-19. By this past Friday, Aug. 20, the eighth day of the school year, there were 190 student COVID-19 cases. The previous high point of 185 was in January 2021.

“No parent should ever be put in the position where they are having to make a decision weighing their child’s right to an education and their child’s safety. It’s simply not fair,” said Carmen Campbell, a medical doctor and a mother of two young children, one of whom has been learning remotely since March 2020. “So I ask [the Board] to be courageous, I ask them to put aside politics, to listen to health experts and enact universal masking in our schools. It’s time for you to be leaders, and it’s time for you to protect our children.”

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