Richardson Independent School District will be starting a mask policy on Monday, January 10, that requires face masks inside all schools. According to the district, they made the decision based on the record increase in positive COVID cases in the area. As of last week, the district’s COVID data shows 1,089 total cases among students and faculty. The district said that there were 49 total cases in the week of December 7, 2021.
“This decision was made because of an unprecedented rise in positive cases among students and employees,” said Interim Superintendent Tabitha Branum. “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.”
Ahead of January 31, the district has said that it will continue to assess the situation to see if the mask policy will need to continue. They also said that they are continuing to offer COVID-19 testing to students and staff on Mondays at Lake Highlands High School and Wednesdays at Richardson High School.
At the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year, Richardson ISD had a mask policy in place that required them, despite Governor Abbott’s executive order banning such mandates in public schools. On November 3, the district switched to only requiring masks at elementary schools. While addressing the mask policy, Richardson ISD noted a decline in cases and the approval of vaccines for children ages five to 1eleven as the reason why it changed.
Richardson ISD has stated that its priority remains the health and safety of the students, staff, and families. To do this, Richardson ISD will be implementing new precautions and protocols for the upcoming year to combat the spread of COVID-19. They have also stated that they will continue to enforce good hygiene among the children and limit the transfer of the virus as much as possible.