Lewisville ISD is planning to install HEPA air filters in its elementary and sixth-grade classrooms this school year to help curb the spread of COVID-19.

The board of trustees voted 7-0 on Aug. 9 to approve up to $445,500 to purchase the filters, which will be installed as soon as they are received. The devices will operate alongside the district’s existing filtration systems. They will filter air every 30 minutes, according to an Aug. 6 email to families.

The purchase, according to a district memo, is “in response to the elementary schools having full classrooms and students not of the age to be vaccinated.”

Trustees heard from more than two dozen people during their Aug. 9 meeting about vaccinations and mask mandates and what should be required and what should not.

Lewisville ISD is recommending but not requiring face masks for those who are not vaccinated when the school year starts Aug. 11.

“We have no intention to defy the governor’s orders,” board president Tracy Scott Miller told the crowd.

He was referencing Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order in May prohibiting government entities in Texas from mandating masks.

In an Aug. 6 email to families, LISD stated that its elementary schools would continue using hand sanitizer, seat assignments in classrooms and physical distancing in cafeterias.

The district will also bring back its COVID tracker, which will post the number of lab-confirmed cases reported to the district each week. That data will be available online at www.lisd.net/covidtracker.

The district will also continue electrostatic cleaning of its classrooms, a practice started last school year.

“There is no doubt this is an anxious time, especially for families who have elementary children,” the district email stated. “The change in health and safety protocols from last school year is impacted by guidance from the Texas Education Agency (TEA) and requirements that result from the governor’s orders.”

District officials had planned to offer virtual learning as an option this school year but canceled its plans in June after the state Legislature failed to approve a bill that would have provided funding. LISD officials stated they are still analyzing an Aug. 5 update from the Texas Education Agency that allows remote conferencing for students absent due to illness or close contact.

More information is available at the district’s site at www.lisd.net/backtoschool.