A Prosper ISD spokeswoman said the district is awaiting guidance from the Texas Education Agency before any decisions are made on how the district will be moving forward after Gov. Greg Abbott announced changes to statewide COVID-19 policies.
On Tuesday, Abbott announced that Executive Order GA-34, which goes into effect March 10, will rescind a statewide requirement for face coverings, in addition to allowing business to open at 100% capacity.
Abbott announced the mandate’s ending on Tuesday while addressing the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce.
"With the medical advancements of vaccines and antibody therapeutic drugs, Texas now has the tools to protect Texans from the virus,” Abbott said, according to a press release. "We must now do more to restore livelihoods and normalcy for Texans by opening Texas 100 percent. Make no mistake, COVID-19 has not disappeared, but it is clear from the recoveries, vaccinations, reduced hospitalizations, and safe practices that Texans are using that state mandates are no longer needed.”
In counties that are not in an area with high COVID-19 hospitalizations, individuals are “strongly encouraged” to wear face coverings over the nose and mouth wherever it is not feasible to maintain a social distance of six feet from someone not in the same household. However, nobody can be required by any jurisdiction to wear or mandate the wearing of a face covering, the order states.
An FAQ page on Prosper ISD’s website surrounding COVID-19 protocols states that all students in the fourth grade and up, as well as all staff, would be required to wear face coverings in compliance with the current executive order from Abbott. Students with specific medical issues may be exempt, the webpage stated.
“Students involved in band will remove masks while playing their instruments while appropriately distanced,” the page states. “Please note that students and staff reporting to the school clinic will be required to wear a face covering while in the clinic unless not medically appropriate.”
Students who are aged nine and below are welcome to wear face coverings.
“This is a parent choice,” the district webpage states.
The FAQ webpage also addressed the possibility of Abbott rescinding the order mandating the use of face coverings.
“More than likely we would be looking at implementing a phase out process versus going from face coverings one day to none the next,” the webpage states.
The new order goes into effect during Prosper ISD’s spring break, which is scheduled for March 8-12.
"As a result of the lifting of the order on masks, TEA has updated its Public Health Guidance," the TEA said in a Wednesday statement. "Under this updated guidance, a public school system’s current practices on masks may continue unchanged. Local school boards have full authority to determine their local mask policy."
This story has been udpated to include an update statement from the Texas Education Agency.