MARBLE FALLS, Texas (KXAN) — Board trustees at the Marble Falls Independent School District voted Wednesday to remove the district’s mask mandate that was supposed to begin this month.
The enforcement of the mask mandate in district facilities was delayed until the Wednesday evening meeting so the board could decide.
During the meeting, Superintendent Chris Allen pointed to the result of a parent poll as reason to repeal.
Allen said the survey they put into the field asked the following questions:
- “Are you in favor of the current MFISD policy that requires students and staff to wear a mask?” 55% of parents said yes, while 45% said no.
- “Are you in favor of a policy that would allow parents to opt out unconditionally?” 50% of parents said yes, while 50% said no.
- “Are you in favor of masks being completely optional?” 51% of parents said yes, while 49% said no.
Allen also pointed to the recent drop in the overall COVID-19 positivity rate in Burnet County. He said it fell from 22.8% on August 22 to 19.9% on August 29.
Prior to the meeting, the board was briefed by legal counsel. During that time, they were updated on the current situation.
“Last week when the board passed the mask mandate, it was totally legal, because there was a temporary injunction against GA-38 that was in place that had statewide applicability for all school districts out of Cameron County, Texas. That temporary injunction lapsed last week. That means today there is not legal standing for the mask mandate that Marble Falls has in place,” Allen said.
Based on the data and the legal standing, he recommended the mandate be removed, effective immediately.
“Over the last week we have heard a lot from our community from all sides of these issues and we took tonight to not just hear people, but to listen. We have developed a core steering committee to bring our community together and seek common ground as we address all issues of the pandemic. We are looking forward to moving onward and upward with a strong sense of what makes this community special!” said Board Trustee Kevin Naumann in a statement.
Cheers filled the room following the recommendation. Public comment did follow, but most everyone spoke in favor of repealing the rule.
“My daughter hates the mask for a lot of reasons, but she’ll wear them simply because she doesn’t want to upset teachers that want her to wear them. I think that’s sad. Ultimately, I’m not willing to risk my daughter’s happiness, growth and development by forcing her against her will to wear a mask that won’t work at preventing her from catching something she statistically has zero chance of dying from just to pacify the fears of grownups who are essentially scared of the boogeyman,” said parent Chris Filler.
Some people did support it staying in place.
“I’m not sure about the tone of moral outrage, frankly, because you were all welcome last week. We masked last year, and it worked. Now, there’s delta, and it is still the recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control, the American Medical Association, the Texas Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Texas Pediatric Society, the Texas Public Health Coalition and almost every doc in this community for children to continue masking,” said Amy Van Dorfy of Marble Falls.
The board unanimously voted to roll back the mandate.