School Board votes in favor of mask mandate with options


Leena U., Staff Writer

Red Oak ISD called a special board meeting on Tuesday, September 7. The meeting was largely focused on the district’s response to the rise in COVID-19 cases.

Before going into closed session, the School Board voted in favor of a (temporary) mask mandate for all District buildings. However, parents and staff members may choose to opt out. 

The meeting started at 6:30pm, and started with public comment. Each person had 2 minutes to speak. One of the eight people shared her opinion on COVID-19 and what they wanted the school to do. Nadi Castillo, an ROISD parent,  said she would like ROISD to mandate masks in elementary schools. According to Castillo, the Delta variant of Covid-19 is affecting kids twice as much as Covid, and pediatric beds are filling up fast. 

Castillo also said that, according to the Texas Department of Safety and Health website, there have been over 51,000 positive covid cases reported in Texas schools alone.

One of the voices on the other side of the issue was Anna Hardwill.

“My children are not disease spreaders!” 

She believes that the District does not need masks.  Hardwill explained that, according to TEA Statue 37.023,  masking children is illegal She says that mask cause discomfort or pain and trouble breathing. With these thoughts in mind the school board moves on to discuss Covid cases and survey results.

Let’s talk about Covid cases. So far ROISD has 165 active covid cases combining student and staff. Along with that there are 571 total Covid cases out of 6,254 ROISD community members that have been lab tested Covid positive in the first two weeks of school.

A survey was offered to the community, faculty, staff and students to see if the public wants a mask mandate or not. A total of 5,120 people took the survey. The percentages came down to 51.5% of people voting for optional and 48.5% of the public said to mandate masks. The breakdown of the people voting for mandate was 46% parents, 51 % emplayes, and 57% students.  

With the board taking all this information and comments into consideration, they have made a final decision to mandate masks with an opt-out option for religious, medical, or philosophical reasons. If for any reason you need to opt-out there will be a link/notification on Skyward. If you can not get into Skyward or have any questions you may email the District ([email protected]).