Richardson ISD to allow elementary students to remove masks during recess, PE classes

Students with masks.
Richardson ISD will allow elementary students to remove their masks during recess and outdoor physical education classes starting March 22. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

Richardson ISD will allow elementary students to remove their masks during recess and outdoor physical education classes starting March 22. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

Richardson ISD plans to allow in-person elementary school students to remove their masks during recess and outdoor physical education classes beginning March 22. However, desk shields the district uses to help mitigate the spread of coronavirus will remain in place for the time being.

District personnel discussed the safety protocols and changes to RISD’s Fall 2020 Return to School Plan during the March 8 board of trustees meeting.

Deputy Superintendent Tabitha Branum said a survey of elementary school staff resulted in a fairly even split on the use of masks for elementary school students, so the decision was made to allow them to be removed during recess and outdoor PE classes after consulting with Director of Health Services Kim Clark and Director of Physical Education Kellie Sellers.

Branum said the district also surveyed teachers throughout the district about continuing to use desk shields.

“Almost 69% of the staff felt like the desk shield and the implementation of the desk shield protocols did feel effective for them as a teacher,” Branum said. “It was something that they wanted to see [the district] continue to use, and 59% of the staff still felt like they were something that were effective for students.”


RISD received around 1,500 responses to the survey about district safety protocols, which was completely voluntary and anonymous, according to staff.

Superintendent Jeannie Stone said she was surprised by the results of the questions about desk shields because she expected those percentages to be higher.

“I can tell you that it's difficult to go against what 59% of our teachers are asking for,” Stone said of why the desk shields will stay in place. “At least, until we have a higher percentage of staff members who are vaccinated.”

The district plans to continue tracking case data and the number of its employees who have been vaccinated, Stone said. The board will revisit the use of desk shields at future meetings.

Trustee Kim Caston said she supports following the recommendation of RISD’s teachers in regard to the district's safety protocols.

“They're the ones on the front line—they are our essential workers,” Caston said. “Let's do everything we can to keep them safe.”

Board President Karen Clardy said the board and district administration can “only do so much” during the pandemic, but it is important to “make sure that everybody’s safe.”

“If we have to go overboard to make that happen, then we have to go overboard,” Clardy said. “I'd rather err on the side of safety and health then to not [err], especially concerning our teachers."
By William C. Wadsack
William C. Wadsack is the senior reporter for the Plano and Richardson editions of Community Impact Newspaper. He previously served as managing editor of several daily and weekly publications in North Texas and his native state of Louisiana before joining Community Impact Newspaper in 2019.


MOST RECENT

Coffee and a donut.
Dunkin' to open on Belt Line Road in Richardson

There are currently more than 170 Dunkin’ restaurants in Texas.

Jim's Pizza is relocating to Eldorado Parkway. (Community Impact staff)
Jim's Pizza relocates in McKinney; ice pop shop coming to Frisco and more DFW-area news

Read the latest business and community news from the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

See how COVID-19 impacted Dallas County over the last week. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Tracking COVID-19: New cases in Dallas County increase week over week

The seven-day average now sits at 218, which is a rate of 8.3 new daily cases per 100,000 residents, according to a county news release.

The red portion of the map identifies Collin County's corridor study area for new alignments for an expansion of FM 546. (Courtesy Collin County)
Collin County studies FM 546 in McKinney; 29 trees transplanted in Frisco and more top DFW-area news

Read the top business and community news from the past week from the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Person.
Richardson ISD approves new instructional materials for district pre-K program

District staff explained that the Frog Street Pre-K program will be paid for through the instructional materials allotment in the district’s current budget.

Chick-fil-A's new location in the Spanish Village Shopping Center is now open for drive-thru and mobile curbside service. (Courtesy Chick-fil-A)
Chick-fil-A opens in Richardson; Lo-Lo's Chicken and Waffles moves to Grapevine and more DFW-area news

Read the latest business and community news from the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Chick-fil-A restaurant.
Chick-fil-A now open in Spanish Village Shopping Center on western edge of Richardson

Inside dining is not currently available at the Spanish Village location as it is only offering drive-thru and mobile curbside service.

Bar taps.
Benders Sports & Spirits now serving drinks, food in Richardson

The sports bar offers affordable food and drinks as well as wall-to-wall TVs for sports spectators. Benders offers happy hour every day from 11 a.m.-7 p.m.

People.
Plano ISD appoints new principals for Plano Senior High, McMillen High

“Research tells us that the campus principal is a significant driver of student success on the campus in Plano ISD,” Assistant Superintendent for Employee Services Beth Brockman said.

The Plano-McKinney Music & Arts Festival will include a classic car show. (Courtesy Outlaw Nation)
McKinney music, arts festival set for mid-April; Raising Cane's opens in Plano and more DFW-area news

Read the latest business and community news from the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

According to the release, three STAAR tests were affected by the connectivity issues including fourth grade writing, seventh grade writing and English I. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
TEA Student Assessment Division calls STAAR Online Testing Platform connectivity issues 'completely unacceptable'

According to the release, three STAAR tests were affected by the connectivity issues including fourth grade writing, seventh grade writing and English I.

Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order April 5 banning governments from issuing "vaccine passport" mandates that would require residents to show proof of vaccination in order to enter a public place or receive services. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
New order from Gov. Greg Abbott bans government-mandated 'vaccine passports' in Texas

"Government should not require any Texan to show proof of vaccination and reveal private health information just to go about their daily lives," Abbott said.