The school board will make a final determination on mask policy in April.

The Humble ISD board heard from the public regarding the mask protocol currently in place for students, staff, and teachers at the March meeting.

Board member Robert Sitton opened the discussions regarding the districtwide mask-wearing protocol after Gov. Greg Abbott’s announcement to lift the mask mandates in Houston recently.

Larissa Powell expressed her opinion virtually.

“It is not OK for masks to be optional. Hospitals and medical facilities are still requiring masts post-mandate. Please wait until the end of the year and do not disregard scientific evidence,” she said.

Dr. Ruth Ann Luna, a physician at Texas Children’s Hospital, added “We need to get a jump on the UK variant of the COVID-19 virus. It is here and it impacts our children. This variant could cause possible hospitalization or even death. Keep the current protocols in place by continuing to mask until the end of school year. I sincerely hope you consider protection all students and staff.”

Alexandria Martin, a teacher at Summer Creek High School, added, “I request that we do not make a decision too quickly to remove the mask mandate. Yes, the kids are tired of wearing them, but at 20 weeks pregnant, not everyone can be vaccinated. Please understand that health and well-being is more important than the inconvenience of wearing a mask — help others.”

Several more citizens and teachers came both in-person and virtually via teleconference. After much deliberation, the district opted to put into place a formal mask plan to be revisited at the next board meeting. The specifics of the new plan are as follows:

Every student, teacher, staff member and visitor shall wear a mask or face shield over the nose and mouth when on school district property or at a district event wherever it is not feasible to maintain six feet of social distancing from another person not in the same household; provided, however, that this mask requirement does not apply to the following: any person younger than 10 years of age; any person with a medical condition or disability that prevents wearing a mask; any person while the person is consuming food or drink, or is seated in a dining area to eat or drink; any person while the person is actively exercising or engaging in physical activity; any spectator at an outdoor event; any person while the person is giving a speech for a broadcast or to an audience; or any student while actively participating in an activity where it is impractical to wear a mask or face shield.

Superintendent Dr. Elizabeth Fagan offered recognition to the district preschool program.

“Tonight, we present our Inspiring Moments video by highlighting the accomplishments of our preschool program. Registration opens online April 5. For more information, visit humbleisd.net/Page/56262.

“You can watch or re-watch the achievements this program offers,” she said.

Local resident and Keep Houston Beautiful Commissioner Herlinda Gonzales proposed that the Humble ISD bring back the recycling program.

“I just want to issue a reminder that Texas code requires the district to create and maintain a recycling program. It is also part of the Humble ISD objectives. Finally, I even volunteer my services to bring back and instill importance of a new program and I urge you to visit our website at houstonbeautiful.org,” she said.

Fagan replied that the district is seeking alternatives to avoid illegal dumping and contamination of items dropped into the designated bins.

To close the meeting, several topics were presented, including the annual performance report of the district, educating the board on vast educational improvements and subject areas of improvement on a district level.

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