Coppell ISD in person

Students in an Austin Elementary kindergarten class color pages during an in-person school day. 

Starting Thursday, students, staff and parents will need to wear a face mask if they want to enter Coppell ISD facilities. 

The Coppell ISD Board of Trustees approved on Monday a temporary mask requirement in all district facilities and on all district transport from Sept. 2 through Sept. 27.

The vote passed 6-0-1 with Trustee Neena Biswas abstaining.

“I believe this is an operational issue, and I trust our superintendent,” Biswas said.

Parents can exempt their kids from wearing a mask through the district for religious, medical or administrative reasons.

Trustees Leigh Walker and Tracy Fisher wanted to require face masks until Dallas County case numbers fell below 10 cases per 100,00 residents. However, Biswas said the number was too arbitrary, and Trustee Nichole Bentley said the county numbers may not entirely represent Coppell’s area of the county.

“Our corner is not indicative of the county,” Trustee David Caviness said. “If we’re going to incorporate data, we should incorporate our neck of the woods to make a better discussion.”

Fisher noted that 10 cases per 100,000 is a metric advised by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention as a maximum number of cases for communities to safely remove masks.

 “If we all have a goal to get the mask off our faces, it could be enough to bring us together instead of dividing us,” she said.

Board members agreed that they do not want to have to shut down schools as they did last year because substitutes could not replace the number of teachers in quarantine.

This year, the district has seen a decrease of 50 substitutes because many wish to stay with their children at home, Assistant Superintendent Kristen Eichel said. She added that the district hopes to acquire more substitutes but has had no problem in filling in for teachers so far.

Trustees are slated to revisit the item at their next meeting on Sept. 27.

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