The Coppell ISD Board of Trustees on Monday updated its police regarding the use of face masks for the remainder of the school year.
Per the updated policy, which went into effect Wednesday, anyone on school property or at a district event must wear a mask or face shield where it is not feasible to social distance from someone not in the same household. This policy lasts for the rest of this school year.
Members of the community spoke on the issue and were largely in favor of removing the mask requirement implemented by Coppell ISD.
“Do not require masks,” Coppell resident Patrick Kernan said. “Human development requires a child to be able to see, be seen and learn to recognize facial expressions. There is zero basis for requiring masks from this point on. Masks harbor germs and impede breathing. No masks.”
Coppell resident Pam Takesh also spoke in favor of making masks being optional due to the lift on the mask mandate effective March 10 and the declining number of cases.
Takesh read comments made by Tulsa ophthalmologist Jim Meehan stating surgical and cloth masks are ineffective in mitigating the spread of viruses and other germs.
“We know that it’s unhealthy to inhale our own carbon dioxide,” the comments read. “Wearing a mask restricts proper oxygen flow, and ample oxygen flow is needed for optimal immune health. Some parents may feel comfortable with their child wearing a mask, and that is their choice. However, I am concerned with the effects of my son wearing a mask after my extensive research.”
Takesh noted the sociological and psychological effects of not seeing facial expressions of others and how that deters child development, as they feel disconnected and depressed.
Amanda Simpson, director of communications for CISD, said the district has received comments both in favor and in opposition of the mask requirement.
The district implemented exceptions to the mask requirement including elementary school students who are participating in outdoor PE or recess and anyone with a medical condition that prevents them from wearing a mask.
“Both sides weigh in heavily on masks at recess, especially at the first of the year,” Superintendent Brad Hunt said. “While we were applauded by our decision at the beginning of the year, I think fatigue and other reasons have caused us to pause and think about whether or not we need to make any changes right now.”
Anyone who is eating, drinking or seated in a dining area to eat or drink will also not have to wear a mask or shield. The exception also applies to anyone exercising or engaging in physical activity, a spectator or participant at an outdoor event or activity or any student participating in an activity that makes it difficult to wear a mask or face shield.
From June 1 to Aug. 6 face masks and shields will be optional if social distancing takes place.
The district said it will announce requirements for the 2021-22 school year at a later date.