Round Rock ISD board passes mask requirements after hours of public comment

Education

ROUND ROCK, Texas (KXAN) — The Round Rock Independent School District Board of Trustees voted 5-2 late Wednesday night to extend its mask requirements. Trustees Mary Bone and Danielle Weston voted no.

With the vote, the district will move forward with Superintendent Dr. Hafedh Azaiez’s suggestion of connecting the district’s mask rules to different COVID-19 risk stages set by Williamson and Travis County health authorities.

During Wednesday’s meeting the board decided to include language that allows enforcement from the Texas Education Agency or court orders to trump the mandate, should that come up.

Otherwise, the proposed mask requirements are listed out below. Masks would only be required in the district when the area is in the “Red/Stage 5” and “Orange/Stage 4” risks.

Proposed mask matrix from RRISD Superintendent Dr. Hafedh Azaiez (Round Rock ISD Board Documents)
Proposed mask matrix from RRISD Superintendent Dr. Hafedh Azaiez (Round Rock ISD Board Documents)

Public comment on the mask mandate carried on for hours during the evening.

“The words of Gov. Abbott announced, ‘Any mask mandating will be renounced.’ Why should I follow the rules but not you?” said Lilly Barten, an RRISD student.

“I beg you to take into consideration the thousands of people who are affected in our community by our children’s health,” said parent Stacey Patterson.

The decision on the mask matrix wasn’t announced until midnight.

Board members tried to take up the mask issue at a meeting on Sept. 14, but that meeting was cut short due to repeated disruptions. Community members were upset about not being let into the main meeting room due to social distancing guidelines. The district said it set up an overflow room where the public could watch the meeting from a live stream.

The Sept. 14 meeting resulted in two arrests. Dustin Clark and Jeremy Story were both charged with hindering proceedings by disorderly conduct, according to court records.

Clark was in attendance at Wednesday night’s meeting for a short time and spoke during public comment.

Board members were also supposed to make a decision on whether to censure two board trustees, Mary Bone and Danielle Weston, however, a temporary restraining order issued by a Williamson County district court at the last second stopped them from voting on the item.

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