Leander ISD board members unanimously approved the mask changes May 20.
“It’s time to make it mask-optional, and we need to do it before graduation,” board member Jim MacKay said. “Our community has endured; they’ve worked with us. It’s time.”
The mask policy change follows Gov. Greg Abbott's May 18 executive order that prohibits public schools from requiring students, teachers, parents, staff members or visitors to wear masks after June 4.
John Graham, assistant superintendent of campus activities and support, said May 20 that though changes could be made now and “most likely” sustained, the recommendation to the board was to keep masks through the end of the school year. District officials held preliminary conversations about the change with principals but not with teachers or staff.
“Without being able to communicate to our staff, to our parents, to our community in a timely manner knowing that the school year ends next week, it would still be our recommendation to at least go to the end of the school year,” Graham said.
The district will also revisit its COVID-19 protocols, such as self-screening and cleaning protocols, since they work together, Graham said.
Masks will be optional at high school graduations, which are May 27-29. High school principals' concerns were about a senior becoming infected or exposed before their graduation ceremony, Graham said, but all principals agreed with optional masks at the ceremony.