6% of students opt out of mask wearing during first day of classes at Round Rock ISD

Set for School

Round Rock ISD classroom on the first day of the 2021-22 school year (KXAN/Kaitlyn Karmout)

ROUND ROCK, Texas (KXAN) — The Round Rock Independent School District welcomed students back into the classroom Wednesday, just days before it implemented a district mask mandate, which gave students the ability to “opt out.”

In Round Rock ISD 3,300 students formally opted out of wearing their mask, roughly 6% of the district students.

“The principals, teachers and assistant principals know their kids,” said Jenny LaCoste’Caputo Round Rock Communications. “They know if they need to give that kid a reminder when they’re walking down the halls. If it’s a parent who wants them wearing a mask, then they know to give them a reminder to pull that mask back up.”

KXAN got a tour of Grisham Middle School on Wednesday for the first day of school, where about 96% of students were in compliance.

District parents also raised over $10,000 to bring in restaurant-grade chairs, umbrellas and tables in order to create an outdoor cafeteria space. Principal Amanda Serna says about 100 students will be able to take their lunch outside during each lunch period.

The outdoor seating will also open up more room for students inside the cafeteria to space out.

At Gattis Elementary many parents dropping their kids off at school are getting to breathe a little easier now.

“Parents have to have it in writing that they aren’t going to wear one, so I think that protects everybody,” said Annie Young, RRISD Parent.

The remote learning for students in Round Rock won’t start until August 25. The district is still working on finding teachers and enrolling students.

RRISD teacher poses inside her flamingo classroom on day 1 of school (KXAN/Kaitlyn Karmout)

Right now, roughly 5,000 students — or 10% — are enrolled. It’s costing the district $17 million to fund the virtual program.

“It’s a guess expense,” said LaCoste’Caputo. “Unfortunately, it’s not sustainable unless we’re able to get some kind of funding.”

Now that the masks have been required in schools, district officials say some parents are redirecting and choosing to send their students to school in-person.

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