Inching toward no masks: Wimberley ISD makes them optional in phases, starting late April

Hays

WIMBERLEY, Texas (KXAN) — The Wimberley Independent School District is inching toward a no-mask policy.

In less than a week, all WISD elementary students will have the option as to whether or not they wear a mask.

This first phase will go into effect Monday, April 26. Only sixth through 12th graders will still be required to wear one. The decision was settled by a school board vote this past Monday.

Then, effective May 27 — the day after school ends — masks will become optional for everyone. The change will come just before Wimberley ISD’s outdoor graduation ceremony and summer school classes.

“Our kids have been troopers with wearing the masks the whole time,” Matthew Buchanan, a Wimberley ISD dad, said.

Buchanan has two elementary students and one middle schooler. He thinks the school board made the right call, though he does prefer his kids still wear a mask.

“I’m really happy that they’re at least continuing the masks at the middle and high school students,” Buchanan said.

Jennifer Sabatier on the other hand has been homeschooling her two elementary students for about a year. She said she pulled them out of Jacob’s Well Elementary to ensure their safety, and she doesn’t support the vote.

“If we continue to push our individual rights at the expense of others… this is not a ‘no harm,'” Sabatier said. “Your rights actually end when they begin to harm someone else.”

According to WISD, it surveyed staff and parents before voting on the new policy. 64% of staff, responded — with the majority saying masks should not be optional for students by a small margin.

Half of the district’s parents responded. Of those, nearly 60% said masks should be optional for students.

The new policy the board approved was recommended by the COVID-19 task force.

“The board did a good job at finding a good balance,” Buchanan said.

Still, Sabatier is questioning whether her kids will return to WISD.

“I’m not sure. I am not sure I am willing to put my kids back in that school,” she said.

Summer school starts June 2. Masks won’t be required leading into the regular school year.

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