Frisco ISD protocols for summer and fall classes will no longer require students and staff to wear face masks.
The news announced at the May 10 board of trustees meeting prompted cheers from dozens of attendees, several of whom spoke out at the meeting against the current mask requirement.
Daniel Stockton, the district’s executive director of government and legal affairs, reported that the new rules are based on the continued decline in positive COVID-19 case numbers. He said the availability of vaccinations has also played a role in the changing protocols.
The change was announced the same day that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted emergency use authorization for the Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to those ages 12-15. COVID-19 vaccinations had previously been available only to those age 16 and older.
The district’s new protocols go into effect June 1. Stockton said the district aims to ensure no one will be treated differently based on their decision to wear or not wear a mask.
The district plans to start allowing visitors back on campuses this summer, he said. Also beginning June 1, only those who test positive for COVID-19 will be required to quarantine, Stockton said.
Distancing of 6 feet between people will be observed where possible. Stockton said that distancing would be more difficult in the fall with more students and staff expected back on campus.
The district’s online dashboard that tracks positive cases will also be taken down June 1, he said.
Stockton said Frisco ISD’s protocols are developed in collaboration with local health authorities.
Many of the requirements this school year were set by the Texas Education Agency. Stockton said the TEA has not offered any guidance to school districts for summer or fall. He told the board that if the TEA issues new guidance or if the district sees changes based on variants of COVID-19, the district could revisit these protocols in the future.
“All signs are pointing in the right direction at this point,” he said.
The protocols were announced for fall to help some parents decide whether to enroll their children in virtual classes. The district is proposing a Virtual School for students in third through 12th grade for the 2021-22 school year. Students must live within Frisco ISD boundaries and must commit to a full year in the Virtual School, according to the district.
Frisco ISD is awaiting approvals from the state Legislature that would allow Virtual School to operate.
The district plans to have a dedicated staff working for the Virtual School. Signups are being accepted online through the district’s parent portal.
Frisco ISD to lift face mask requirement for schools starting June 1
Frisco ISD's new protocols, which no longer make face masks a requirement, will go into effect June 1. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)