UPDATE: This story has been updated to reflect the specific guidelines and resources Plano ISD has provided.
This story is breaking and will be updated as further developments arise.
Plano ISD is officially mandating masks indoors for Plano schools’ students and staff until September 24 or “or until there is further guidance on GA-38 as a result of ongoing state and federal litigation or legislative action,” according to the announcement on the Plano ISD website. The decision occurred after the school board voted 6-1 in an emergency meeting on Monday, August 23.
Plano ISD has also launched its own COVID-19 dashboard to regularly report positive case data.
Exemptions for medical, religious or philosophical reasons will be allowed. The mandate goes into effect August 26.
Several members of the Plano community testified during the emergency meeting, and several more protested on site while board members met after public comments concluded and the trustees’ meeting doors closed.
The announcement of a mask mandate comes from Plano ISD following a rocky start to the school year, after the Plano ISD Board of Trustees drafted a letter to Gov. Greg Abbott requesting the authority to mandate masks in the district as concerns over the Delta variants of the virus rose. COVID-19 cases among children coupled with an outbreak of RSV contributed to shortage of pediatric ICU beds in the Collin County and other North Texas areas.
(Click here to read more about the Delta variant’s impact on Collin County and the start of the new mask mandate conversation.)
On August 10, a protest occurred at Allen ISD, where parents protested for the district to mandate masks and provide virtual learning options like those offered in Plano, Frisco and Richardson.
“Our neighboring districts – Plano, Richardson, Frisco, Dallas, Garland are doing a lot more for their families than Allen ISD,” parents wrote in a signed note that day. “We feel parents are being forced to make a choice between education and health. We were not heard today and that shows there is not importance given to community concerns.”
Now that Plano ISD has made the move to mandate masks, it remains to be seen whether the rest of the independent school districts within Collin County will follow suit.