The board of trustees unanimously approved the COVID-19 response team’s recommendation to allow adults and children the option to wear masks outdoors if social distancing is maintained. Desk shields in classrooms will now be optional as well. Masks will remain mandatory on buses, according to the changes.
“I do believe it's safe to let the children and anyone outside not wear a mask,” said Karen Flexer, a nurse at Carroll Senior High and a member of the response team. “I feel like my goal is to keep the kids in school. I believe it's important to have a little bit of normalcy back, especially [as] we're finding out more and more every day on this virus.”
End-of-year events will be allowed to go as planned as long as Centers for Disease Control and Prevention health guidelines are maintained. This includes graduation and prom. If held outdoors, masks will be optional. If held indoors, masks will be required. Graduation is expected to be held at Dragon Stadium.
According to Julie Thannum, assistant superintendent for board and community relations, specific details regarding limited tickets and seating arrangements have not yet been determined as health guidelines are constantly being updated.
“We are learning to be flexible as we work together to provide as normal a year for our students as possible, but with safety as a top priority,” Thannum said in an email. “I do think we are facing a better situation with this pandemic than last year and look forward to hosting graduation in May to celebrate our Class of 2021.”
A survey was conducted among K-12 students and parents regarding the mask mandate in Carroll ISD. Out of 4,994 responses, over 55% responded they do not want a change in the current mask rules for students. Another 34.5% said they wanted to see a change in the mask mandate, and 9.9% said they wanted to see partial change, such as removing masks while outdoor for students.
A second survey among students and parents asked about the mask mandate for staff. Out of 4,994 responses, 59.4% said they did not want to see a change in mask rules for staff. Only 31.7% said they want to see a change in the mask mandate for staff.
The response team said there is a potential for more changes to the regulations ahead of summer camps as CDC recommendations continue to change.
Carroll ISD has been vaccinating staff and students against COVID-19. On March 12, a total of 393 employees received their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine during a district-held vaccination clinic. On April 2, another 400 shots were administered. Flexer said 200 students over the age of 16 have already received their first dose of the vaccine through the district on April 5.