UPDATED: Plano ISD approves revised health, safety protocols for upcoming school year

School board meeting.
During a special called meeting Aug. 9, the Plano ISD board of trustees approved updated health and safety protocols for the new school year. (Leanne Libby/Community Impact Newspaper)

During a special called meeting Aug. 9, the Plano ISD board of trustees approved updated health and safety protocols for the new school year. (Leanne Libby/Community Impact Newspaper)

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The Plano ISD board of trustees heard from 13 speakers during public comment Aug. 3 before voting on the revised health and safety protocols for new school year. (William C. Wadsack/Community Impact Newspaper)
Updated 3:33 p.m., Aug. 10: The Plano ISD board of trustees unanimously approved updated health and safety protocols for the new school year based on guidance from the Texas Education Agency during a special called meeting Aug. 9.

“COVID-positive students and staff must be excluded from campus and must quarantine,” said Beth Brockman, assistant superintendent for employee services, during her presentation to the board. “Close contacts may not be required to stay home by the school, and they can quarantine at a parent's discretion.”

Under the revised guidelines, Brockman said elementary and middle school campuses are prohibited from planning large attendance events, such as assemblies and pep rallies, during the school day for the first nine weeks of school.

"They're encouraged to explore other options for smaller gatherings or virtual opportunities," she said. "High schools and senior highs are asked to be mindful and cautious as they plan large group events and allow an opt-out choice for students."

The updated protocols came less than a week after the board approved revised health and safety protocols for the upcoming school year during its Aug. 3 meeting. The board's special meeting also came the same day the district announced it would offer a temporary virtual option for students too young to be vaccinated against COVID-19.


The latest version of the revised protocols is available here.

Original post: The Plano ISD board of trustees unanimously approved revised health and safety protocols for the 2021-22 school year based on current COVID-19 recommendations during its regular meeting Aug. 3.

The updated guidelines were revised to reflect Gov. Greg Abbott’s May 18 executive order, Texas Education Agency school health operations requirements and guidance from the Collin County Health Services Department, according to the draft version of the document prepared for the board.

"It's important to note that we have continued to revise these protocols over the last two weeks as the situation continues to change and guidance continues to be updated," said Beth Brockman, assistant superintendent for employee services, during her presentation of the guidelines to the board.

The board also heard from 13 speakers during the public comment section of the agenda, with nearly all of them requesting more stringent protocols than were included in the draft copy of the guidelines made available on the district website.

Superintendent Sara Bonser said the district plans to continue monitoring the pandemic and stands ready to adjust protocols to ensure safety while still complying with the legal parameters placed on it. She said the district no longer had the ability to require masks, offer virtual learning, grant attendance waivers to allow social distancing, do contract tracing or require a quarantine period of close contacts with those who have had a positive COVID-19 test.

Brockman explained the district has five levels of response for COVID-19 cases beginning with prevention at Level 1 and rising to facility closures at Level 4 and district closure at Level 5. She said all district facilities are following preventative measures on a daily basis at Level 1.

"We know we cannot require masks, but it is our recommendation that individuals who are not fully vaccinated continue to wear an appropriate face mask when around others," Brockman said. "Additionally, we are recommending universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students and visitors to all of our schools regardless of their vaccination status."

Before the board took its vote, board President David Stolle said that over the past 18 months the district has proven it has been able to pivot quickly as things have changed with the pandemic.

"Everybody acknowledges we were dealt a tough hand, but we've been able to keep our kids going on track," Stolle said. "And that's our goal here too, relative to keeping them safe, keeping them healthy and keeping them in school."

Stolle also said his expectation of the district is that non-administrative changes to health and safety protocols will go before the board before being implemented.

"So if that means we need to have specially-called meetings in order to implement those changes, I'm ready, willing and able to do that," he said.
By William C. Wadsack

Senior Reporter, Plano/Richardson

William joined Community Impact Newspaper in December 2019. He previously served as managing editor of several daily and weekly publications in North Texas and his native state of Louisiana.



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