Posted Date: 06/02/2021
On March 2, 2021, Governor Abbott rescinded the requirement for face coverings as of next Wednesday (March 10, 2021). On March 4, 2021 the Commissioner of Education, Mike Morath held a meeting with Superintendents and shared the TEA guidelines for public health in all school districts across Texas. Basically, TEA did not change the expectations for school districts considering face coverings, quarantining and isolation protocols, and other covid mitigation efforts. However, following the Governor’s lead, TEA did give local School Boards the authority to evaluate their local context and make changes through an official agenda item at a Board meeting.
Our current local context is looking promising and our numbers of positive covid cases are much lower than we experienced even just a few weeks ago. However, we have only had around 20% of our staff in the PISD receive the opportunity to get the vaccine and most of our students ages 4-16 will not have the opportunity until a juvenile vaccine becomes available. The fact is that ONLY mask orders have changed and SOME of the requirements with isolation and quarantining have changed for those who are vaccinated. This is very concerning for school officials because any positive cases will still result in quarantining numerous students and staff. See the new CDC guidelines for quarantining and masks for those that are vaccinated HERE. In short, we do NOT want to quarantine entire teams, squads, or classrooms because they are not wearing masks or because they have not had the opportunity to get a vaccine. We have surveyed our staff and parents and have received almost 2000 responses. We are also collecting data on vaccines to determine how many of our staff who desire to be vaccinated have had the opportunity.
So, how is Pampa ISD going to respond to the Governor’s Orders?
We will maintain our current protocols and procedures until further notice. On March 29, the School Board will review the data available, current covid case data, vaccine data, and the survey data to determine how best to proceed. Therefore, face coverings are still required on all Pampa ISD campuses. We know this is inconvenient and we appreciate your continued patience as we work together to make the right decisions for the right reasons. We are hopeful that we can lessen some restrictions and return to more normal daily routines; however, we do not want to abandon all of the efforts that have been working to keep our students and staff safe and all of our programs playing, performing, and competing.
Tanya Larkin EdD
Published on 03/08/2021