The Woodlands Township plans to begin holding in-person board meetings again in October

The Woodlands Township board of directors held a virtual meeting Sept. 23. (Screenshot via The Woodlands Township)
The Woodlands Township board of directors held a virtual meeting Sept. 23. (Screenshot via The Woodlands Township)

The Woodlands Township board of directors held a virtual meeting Sept. 23. (Screenshot via The Woodlands Township)

After six months of virtual meetings, the next meeting of The Woodlands Township board of directors will be held in the town hall on Technology Forest Boulevard with distancing and safety measures in place beginning Oct. 22, directors decided at the Sept. 23 board meeting.

The town hall will also be open to the public beginning in mid-October, and other township organizations that meet in the building such as the development standards committee, the residential design review committee and the village associations will also be able to meet in the building provided social distancing and other protocols, such as screening for fevers, are conducted, according to discussion at the meeting.

In the Sept. 23 discussion, board members said that during meetings they will sit at the dais, but staff will be placed to the side, and protective panels will separate board members from each other. Because of that protection and other distancing measures, board members will not wear masks during the meeting, but mask-wearing protocols will be in place while people are walking through the room, according to the discussion.

Hand sanitizer and temperature screening stations are already in place at the facility, said Jeff Jones, who took over as the township’s president and general manager this fall.

Chairman Gordy Bunch, who has attended most virtual meetings this year from the board room, said there appeared to be room for as many as 35 people in the audience with social distancing of 6 feet, not counting those who might arrive from the same household and sit together.

“Our kids are back in school; the governor has gone to 75% in all kinds of facilities except bars ... the last time I checked, we don’t serve alcohol in the township chambers yet, so we are not a bar. So we can be open,” he said.

Other board members agreed.

“I think it’s time,” Vice Chair Bruce Rieser said. “We have done this for six months now.”

Bunch suggested requiring the public to wear masks in public areas of the facility, but in the board chambers as long as people are observing 6-foot distance protocols the masks would be optional while they are seated.

“For the board, which is separated by glass and has 6-foot markers in front of us ... we would not be required to wear masks at the dais stations,” he said.

The next board meeting will be held 6 p.m. Oct. 22 at 2801 Technology Forest Blvd. The meetings are also broadcast live online on the township website.
By Vanessa Holt
A resident of the Houston area since 2011, Vanessa began working in community journalism in her home state of New Jersey in 1996. She joined Community Impact Newspaper in 2016 as a reporter for the Spring/Klein edition and became editor of that paper in March 2017 and editor of The Woodlands edition in January 2019.


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