Saying positive cases of COVID-19 are climbing to "very high rates" in the district, the Richardson ISD says they are once again temporarily implementing a mask requirement for everyone inside K-12 schools.
In a letter to parents, the district said active cases of COVID-19 have increased from 49 on Dec. 7 to 1,089 on Jan. 6, an increase of more than 2100%. The previous pandemic-high number of positive cases in RISD was 367 on Sept. 3.
The masking requirement will be in place beginning Monday, Jan. 10, and will remain in effect for three weeks, until Jan. 28.
“This decision was made because of an unprecedented rise in positive cases among students and employees,” Interim Superintendent Tabitha Branum said. “We continue to focus on the goal of keeping our schools open for in-person teaching and learning, and this is a necessary step if we hope to keep our students learning in school.”
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The district required masks last fall as part of its mitigation strategy to control the spread of the virus.
The district said they will monitor the spread of the virus to consider extending the mandate beyond Jan. 31 or enforcing it in a more targeted approach by campus or grade level.
RISD reminded parents that masks are recommended to be worn by students and adults inside schools by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the State of Texas, Dallas County Health and Human Services (DCHHS – the public health authority for all RISD schools), and the panel of local physicians advising RISD.
The district asks parents to monitor their children daily for symptoms and to not send children to school if they are ill. Parents should notify the school nurse if a student is ill or if they have tested positive for COVID-19.
Former Richardson Independent School District Dr. Jeanne Stone resigned last month after enduring for months threatening and harassing emails, phone calls, social media posts related to her positions on masking, race, and equality in the district.
On Thursday, a state appeals court upheld a decision allowing Harris County to impose mask requirements despite Gov. Greg Abbott's executive order banning such mandates. The appeals court decision is expected to be challenged in the Texas Supreme Court by Abbott.