Kevin Baxter | Staff Reporter
SAN MARCOS – On Jan. 18, 2022, the San Marcos CISD School Board of Trustees voted on extending the mask mandate in their district.
Initially, on Aug. 12, 2021, Corridor News reported that the board voted to instate a mask mandate, violating Governor Gregg Abbotts orders, and agreed to revote on the issue in January 2022.
After a closed session, the board began discussing extending the mask mandate.
Anne Halsey set the motion stating, “We maintain the mask mandate, temporarily at SMCISD, from today, January 18 through Spring Break and leave it to the Superintendent to determine whether or not we need to maintain it after Spring Break until the next school board meeting at which time we can reconsider it.”
Board of Trustees member Miguel Arredondo also asked for a virtual alternative to the mandatory meetings for parents.
“Over the past several weeks I’ve seen the amount of communication from ISD staff, regarding our mask requirements, increase significantly and I want to express my appreciation and gratitude, for not only your commitment, but the employees of this organizations committed to keeping our students, families, and employees safe throughout the ongoing public health crisis,” stated Arrendondo. “I understand that we have masks and were doing our best to enforce that, but if, in addition to that, we can provide a virtual opportunity to parents and students in these meetings that are categorized as mandatory. So that they have an additional option to, if they so choose, stay home and stay safe.”
During the public forum, Bailey Lee, who had spoken when the board originally voted for the mask mandate in August, returned to once again voice their approval.
“My husband and I were extremely grateful for that requirement especially at a time when so few schools were willing to step up and be leaders and were proud of the district for requiring masks. So now I’m back to ask the board to keep the mask requirement moving forward due to the most recent surge of cases, my concerns are no different now than they were in August. Perhaps my reasoning is best summed up by if it ain’t broke don’t fix it,” said Lee. “I think masks are a small price to pay to keep our kids in school and to keep from spreading illness. To be clear I dream of the day when we don’t have to wear a mask anymore. But I will continue to wear a mask as long as necessary to keep my loved ones and my community safe and I ask that the district do that too for our students and our community.”
During the meeting, there was some discrepancy as to whether the mandate would last until the beginning of Spring Break or the end.
“I mean, until we dismiss on the Friday before Spring Break and, at that point, if the superintendent believes that masks are still necessary when students and teachers return from Spring Break, then he would have the authority to continue to implement it until which time the board meets and can reconsider whether or not we need to continue,” clarified Halsey. “God willing, there’s a miracle, and we can start lifting restrictions.”
The board voted unanimously on this motion, extending the mask mandate. The agreed endpoint of the mandate will be on Friday, March 11.