WIMBERLEY, Texas (KXAN) — A week from Monday, the Wimberley Independent School District Board of Trustees will consider dropping the district’s mask mandate.
The Texas Education Agency is letting school districts decide whether to change mask rules after the governor’s executive order went into effect last Wednesday.
The district first posted to its Facebook page March 4, saying it would keep its mask rule.
One teacher in the school district, who wants to stay anonymous out of fear of backlash, says some students started showing up to school on March 10 without masks. That was the day Gov. Greg Abbott’s statewide mask mandate was lifted.
A WISD spokesperson confirmed on Wednesday, saying:
“Today, our campuses attempted to contact non-wearers’ parents to give them the opportunity to pick up their child(ren). Our purpose at WISD is to educate the students that come through our doors; to that end, those students whose parents could not be reached or were unavailable were allowed to participate in synchronous learning socially distanced in the library at their respective campuses – separate from the rest of the student body. This protocol will continue to be in place for at least the remaining 1.5 days of school we have this week.”Allen Bruggman, Wimberley ISD spokesperson
On Thursday, Bruggman confirms Superintendent Dwain York sent staff the below email “to ensure all staff is on the same page in regards to how these mask non-compliance issues are being handled” and to also inform them the mask policy would be reconsidered.
KXAN checked in again on Friday, and Bruggman said about 40 students from elementary to high school had come to school without masks.
“Our board members have been hearing from the community from all sides on this issue, and because the TEA guidance that we’re required to follow gives the board the sole authority to make any changes to our COVID protocols (including the mask mandate), they made the decision to discuss any COVID-related issues and possibly act on making revisions to protocols,” Bruggman wrote in an email.
You can find the board’s March 22 agenda online here. The mask rule will be under item 3, after public forum.
The anonymous teacher told KXAN they’re not the only educator who’s nervous about possibly dropping the mask mandate.
“I think a lot of us felt betrayed, really let down that it would even be on the table again. Just worried and really disappointed,” the teacher said.
That teacher said most students and parents were not protesting the mask, and were still wearing it to school.
“I’m very concerned,” they said. “A lot of people are on our campus, and we are worried about the safety of our own families and ourselves. A lot of teachers aren’t vaccinated, yet, and there’s just so many unknowns — it’s making us worried and anxious.”
Right now, Wimberley ISD is on spring break.