The PISD board of trustees passed the temporary mask mandate, which allows for medical, religious, philosophical and administrative exemptions, in a 6-1 vote during an Aug. 23 emergency meeting. Angela Powell was the only trustee to vote against the proposal.
Parents had until Aug. 25 to request an exemption, and the mandate took effect Aug. 26. During the emergency meeting, district officials said there will be no review or approval process for exemptions.
The mandate covers all indoor district facilities as well as district-provided transportation. It is scheduled to last until Sept. 24.
Hughston Elementary and Shepard Elementary schools had the largest share of mask-exempt students with 21% at each school. Because of differing enrollment numbers, that amounted to 71 students at Hughston and 90 at Shepard. Plano West Senior High School had the highest number of mask-exempt students at 363, or 14% of the school’s population.
On May 10, 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.
Forman Elementary and Mendenhall Elementary schools had the smallest share of students with a mask exemption of 1% at each school. That percentage translated to eight students at Forman and seven at Mendenhall.
Among elementary schools, Mendenhall, Barron and Memorial each had seven mask-exempt students. The only PISD school with fewer exempt students was the Head Start campus for early childhood students. That campus had three students with an exemption, accounting for 2% of the school’s enrollment.
PISD’s COVID-19 dashboard showed as of Aug. 22 there were 274 confirmed cases among students and 77 among staff. Nearly 2,400 PISD students in pre-K through sixth grade registered for a temporary, parent-led virtual option offered by the district, according to staff. That option is scheduled to end Sept. 3.