Frisco ISD file (masks in classroom)

Frisco ISD has shed some light on what COVID-19 protocols will look like over the next few months.

During a Monday night Board of Trustees meeting, Daniel Stockton, the district’s executive director of Government and Legal Affairs, told board members that the protocols the district had developed for the past year aimed to protect the health and safety of staff and students.

“One of the main reasons that we developed these protocols is because for most of the COVID-19 pandemic, individuals didn’t really have an opportunity to protect themselves,” Stockton said. “People were reliant on the actions of other people around them, and there wasn’t an easy way for people to prevent themselves from getting COVID-19 other than just staying home completely.”

Stockton announced Monday that starting June 1, face coverings will not be required for students or staff. The announcement was met with a round of applause from audience members at the meeting.

“Staff will also work to make sure that no student is treated differently on their campus based on their decision to either wear a mask or not wear a mask,” Stockton added, an announcement that won additional applause from attendees.

Effective June 1, the district will also be taking its online COVID-19 dashboard down, and while it will still ask parents and staff to report positive cases to campus administration, staff will no longer conduct close contact reviews, Stockton said. In addition, quarantines will only be required for those who test positive for COVID-19. Parents will continue to be notified when there’s a positive case in a classroom. Finally, the district will return to its normal visiting rules.

Protocols for the fall semester are slated to be mostly the same except for one detail: during the summer when there are far fewer students on campus, the district will still look to have social distancing protocols in place, particularly in classrooms. However, in the fall, social distancing will be more difficult, Stockton said.

“We’ll have significantly more students on campus than we do this school year,” he said, “and so campuses will do their best to accommodate parent requests to ensure their students remain socially distanced when possible, but social distancing won’t be feasible in all situations.”

Stockton said most of the district’s current protocols are required by the Texas Education Agency. Those protocols expire at the end of the school year, he said.

FISD’s new protocols come with the caveat that if the TEA decides to issue any guidance for the summer or fall, the district will have to comply.

“We have not been told that that will happen,” Stockton said, “but I just want to make sure that’s out there because we got guidance from the TEA in a very short time frame throughout most of the pandemic, so we want to make sure we’re really up front about that.”

Stockton said the changes come in the midst of a drastic drop in case counts across the country and in the state since January. He said another sharp decrease could be on the horizon as Texas approaches a 40% threshold for vaccination and added that those over the age of 12 now have access to a COVID-19 vaccine.

Finally, Stockton said healthcare supply chains have stabilized, making it easier to have access to an N95 mask, and he added that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows case decreases in all of its models.

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