On the day of Garland ISD’s mask requirement expiration, Rowlett resident Troylene Moyer with seven other Garland ISD parents spoke against the mask requirement saying it was illegal and damaging to students’ mental health.

Garland ISD’s temporary face mask requirement expired on Tuesday, now deeming masks optional for students, staff and visitors.

While masks are no longer required, the district said it still encourages the use of masks to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

At the Tuesday Board of Trustees meeting, nine parents spoke about the requirement. Of those who spoke, eight voiced their desire to not see a reprise of the requirement, while one said she hopes the district will enforce another requirement if numbers increase.

Those who spoke against the requirement, including Rowlett residents Troylene and Chris Moyer; Sachse residents Erik Richey and Elana Richardson; and Garland resident Sharron Morgan said the requirement was illegal because it went against Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order deeming mask mandates unenforceable. They also agreed that the use of masks hindered students from learning facial expressions and social cues. Additionally, they said that because case numbers among students were just above 1% and staff case numbers were below 1%, the requirement of masks was unnecessary.

The parent in favor of a mask requirement, Brittany Quick said that because Dallas County was a code red zone for COVID-19 cases, she hoped the board would bring back the requirement if the need arose.

The district said in a press release that it offers additional resources for COVID-19 mitigation including registered nurses at every campus, rapid COVID-19 tests, group testing to quickly identify outbreaks, contact tracing software, on-site COVID-19 vaccinations for staff and students, disinfectants and the virtual school program for students who cannot receive a vaccine.

The district also uses a tricolor level system in collaboration with the Garland Health Department to respond to campus-specific and department-specific rises in positive cases.

A red or yellow color rating triggers additional safety measures. Families will receive a notification detailing the additional temporary restrictions if a color level is enacted for their student’s campus.

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