Red Oak ISD mandates face masks
Students, staff and visitors in Red Oak ISD are now required to wear masks while when inside district facilities, following a vote by the ROISD Board of Trustees on Tuesday.
This comes as the number of COVID-19 cases in the district continues to rise. According to a letter Superintendent Brenda Sanford sent to parents, there have been more than 350 active cases of COVID-19 reported in the first 14 days of school. That compares to 571 cases during the entire 2020-21 school year, the letter stated.
The mandate went into effect Wednesday. Beth Trimble, executive director of communications with ROISD, said the board will revisit the mandate at each meeting.
“With recent increases in COVID cases, particularly among ROISD staff, students, and families, your ROISD administration has researched numerous options, reviewed current legal proceedings, and consulted with both medical professionals and attorneys,” Sanford said in the letter. “The goal, as is always a top priority, is to provide a safe environment for teaching and learning in every classroom and educational setting across the district. At the same time, we want to balance the rights of individuals.”
Families can request a waiver from the mandate by filling out a form on the district’s Skyward page, filling out a PDF form at redoakisd.org or emailing email@example.com.
The forms and the email require the student’s name, student ID number, legal guardian name, date and their choice of medical, religious or philosophical reason for requesting the waiver.
Sanford acknowledged that the feelings over a mask mandate have been mixed. In the letter she stated that in a survey conducted by the district 51.5 percent of the 5,120 respondents supported masks being optional with 48.5 percent supported masks being required. She said the survey breakdown for those wanting masks to be mandatory was 57 percent students, 51 percent employees and 46 percent parents.
The district stated it is also exploring the possibility of virtual learning.
"The primary need is to recruit both retired/stay-at-home educators and current staff for after-hours to facilitate the learning," Trimble said.
She said the board will be updated at the Sept. 22 meeting.