Joshua ISD

Joshua ISD Board Votes to Make Face Masks Optional for Remainder of 2020-21 School Year

Some exceptions will be in place, and masks will still be required at certain campus events

NBC 5 News

The Joshua ISD Board of Trustees unanimously voted Monday to lift the district mask requirement effective Tuesday.

According to Joshua ISD, the district consulted with local health authorities, who gave their recommendation but also approved Joshua ISD's plan going forward.

The decision was made following Gov. Greg Abbott's (R) recent decision to lift the statewide mask order, and after reviewing three surveys that were sent out to district staff, students, parents, and the community between March 8 and March 12, Joshua ISD said.

In the survey, 52% of parents and community members voted against the mask mandate. Of the 2,269 individuals surveyed, 40% voted to keep the current requirement, while 8% of respondents were not sure.

Out of 630 employees that were surveyed, 47% voted to keep the mask requirement in place, 37% opposed, and 16% were not sure. 

 All Joshua ISD staff and students will have the option to wear a mask during the school day and at school-sponsored activities, though certain exceptions will be in place that still requires when masks are to be worn.

  • Masks must be worn by staff and students when entering the nurse's office.
  • Masks must also be worn by staff and students during all choir classes, choir rehearsals, choir performances, elementary music classes, elementary music rehearsals, and elementary music performances. 
  • All band instruments must continue to be covered with bell covers during band class, during band rehearsals, and during band performances. 
  • Masks must also be worn by elementary staff and elementary students when working on direct instruction with a teacher at a horseshoe table.
  • At UIL athletic events, masks will optional, and all events will be able to operate at 100% capacity. The district said it will continue issuing only electronic tickets.
  • At graduations, masks will be optional for both Joshua High School and New Horizon High School Graduations, and both graduations will take place in Owl Stadium. Each campus will determine the number of tickets allowed per graduate.
  • End-of-year awards will occur during the day on June 1 or June 2, and at night on May 24 to May 27. All guests must wear a mask, and each student will be allowed up to four guests.
  • For the end-of-year awards ceremony set to occur outside, the campus will determine the number of guests allowed. Masks will be optional.
  • Concerts and performances may occur outdoors or in a gym setting, and masks will be optional.  
  • For the concerts and performances that are held in Acker Auditorium, all guests must wear masks. Only two guests per student will be allowed, and only one band, one choir, or one class may perform.

"I think we made a good compromise," Joshua ISD Board President Ronnie Galbreath said. "We gave parents, students, and staff the option to wear a mask, and the surveys were a great tool for us. With the vaccinations that have occurred, and our already low getting lower, it is a good option."

If COVID-19 cases increase dramatically, district leaders will revisit previous mask requirements, Joshua ISD said.

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