Waco ISD is another one of the 80 school districts across Texas refusing to lift their mandate on masks for all students and teachers.
One reason is that Waco ISD has seen a direct loss in life due to Covid-19, officials told ABC News. The Principal of G.W Carver Middle School, Phillip Perry, passed away due to Covid-19 at 49 years old. Two Connally ISD middle school teachers, Natalia Chansler and David McCormick, died from Covid-19 in August. They were both under the age of 60, ABC reports.
The Texan News reported that “From the beginning of this school year to the end of September, 1.89 percent of students at schools with mask mandates have tested positive, compared to 2.93 percent of students at schools without mask mandates.” Meaning schools with mask mandates had less than a one percent decrease in their COVID-19 positivity rate.
The increase of Covid cases in the district concerned Kyle DeBeer, the Waco ISD Chief of Staff. “The number of cases of COVID-19 reported in Waco ISD during the first few weeks of the school year was deeply worrisome and far outpaced the same period last year. We had 104 cases during the first week and 285 the second week,” Debeer told ABC.
Debeer supports the district’s decision to require masks. He said, “While there are many factors at play, it seems clear that requiring masks has made a difference.” Since keeping the mask mandates in place, district officials say the weekly case count has lowered.