Round Rock ISD superintendent to suggest opt-out option for masks be reserved for certain students

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Round Rock Independent School District superintendent is expected to recommend changes to the district’s mask policy in a meeting this week.

Last week, Round Rock ISD announced it will enact a mask requirement through mid-September but allow parents to opt their students out of it if they choose.

However, in an email update Aug. 20, Superintendent Hafedh Azaiez said he will ask the school board to change the opt-out option to reserve it only for students or staffers with tricky health or developmental circumstances.

“…I have asked our Board President to call a meeting next week and I will be bringing a recommendation at that time that the mask opt-out provision be reserved for health or developmental circumstances only and that all other staff and students be required to wear masks indoors when six feet of social distance is not possible,” Azaiez said in his email.

Azaiez said the decision to suggest the change came after developments in the court system and after the district learned from the Texas Education Agency the state is not enforcing Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order currently because of those legal battles.

The meeting hasn’t been scheduled yet, according to RRISD officials.

On Thursday, the Texas Supreme Court allowed mask mandates in schools to continue in Travis County, declining to overturn temporary restraining orders against Abbott’s executive order prohibiting them.

Even with the opt-out option as it stands now, the district is seeing less than 9% of students opting out of wearing a mask, Azaiez said in his email. You can view opt-out rates by campus online here.

“I have visited more than 20 campuses in the last three days and am encouraged by both the adherence to safety protocols and the excitement and enthusiasm for being back at school,” Azaiez wrote.

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