BEAUMONT — The Beaumont school board has approved a mask mandate due to the rapidly growing number of COVID-19 cases in the district. The board held an emergency meeting at noon Monday via Zoom and approved the mask mandate. The vote was 4-2 with Kevin Reece and Joe Evans voting against it. One trustee was absent.
BISD joins Port Arthur ISD and West Orange-Cove CISD in approving mask mandates. BISD is the largest school district in the area.
The vote came on the same day MLK Middle School closed for a week due to the growing number of student and staff COVID cases. It’s the first school to close since students returned across the region. BISD students went back to school August 17. At last check, the BISD COVID tracker showed 94 cases, including 44 students, 25 teachers and 25 staff members.
Superintendent Dr. Shannon Allen says her concern is how rapidly cases are developing. She says the district can’t respond by continuing to close schools and not take preemptive action.
“We can’t continue on the path we’re on,” said Board president Robert Dunn. Dunn said the board is charged with protecting the health and safety of children and staff. He said because those under 12 can’t get a vaccine, then the district must take that into account. He said he’s not concerned about facing litigation in order to protect students and staff. He said the board must protect students and staff “by any means necessary.”
Board member Joe Evans expressed concern that a mandate could violate the Governor’s order and the district could risk litigation. He said he can’t break the law to enforce a mask mandate. The Texas Education Agency said last week it would not enforce the ban against mask mandates until the litigation plays out. The district’s legal counsel said Attorney General Paxton has vowed to prosecute districts that violate the ban against mask mandates.
Beaumont Health Director Kenneth Coleman says the Delta variant is a game changer and has caused a rapid spike in COVID-19 cases in BISD, across the region, state and nation. He says there’s no other option to protect students and staff other than wearing a mask, getting a vaccine and social distancing, but with all students back to in-person learning, social distancing isn’t feasible. He says the data shows the vaccine may not prevent COVID, but it will dramatically reduce the chances of getting very sick and potentially dying from COVID.
From BISD: The Beaumont ISD Board of Trustees voted four to two, in favor of enacting a district-wide mask mandate at an emergency meeting of the board on August 23, 2021.
Effective Tuesday, August 24, 2021, all students, staff and visitors of BISD will be required to wear a mask while in district facilities and buses.
“BISD’s top priority is and always has been the safety of our students and staff,” said Superintendent Dr. Shannon Allen. “Masking up is a critical part of mitigating the spread of COVID-19 in our schools. Having one campus close after four days clearly shows how much more impactful the delta variant is. With this in mind, we found it imperative that we protect each other and mandate facial coverings. This mandate we hope will reduce the spread and help keep our doors open and kids in schools.”
Students who are unable to acquire a mask should contact their campus leadership.
Students who have a medical issue with wearing masks, should contact their campus administration for further direction.
La Mesa Directiva de Beaumont ISD votó a favor del mandato de uso de cubrebocas (mascarillas).
La Mesa Directiva de Beaumont ISD votó cuatro a dos, a favor de promulgar un mandato de uso de cubrebocas (mascarillas) en todo el distrito en una reunión de emergencia el 23 de agosto de 2021.
A partir del martes 24 de agosto de 2021, todos los estudiantes, el personal y los visitantes de BISD deberán usar cubrebocas (mascarillas) mientras se encuentren en las instalaciones y los autobuses del distrito.
“La principal prioridad de BISD es y siempre ha sido la seguridad de nuestros estudiantes y personal”, dijo la superintendente Dra. Shannon Allen. “El uso del cubrebocas es una parte fundamental para mitigar la propagación de COVID-19 en nuestras escuelas. Tener una escuela cerrada después de cuatro días muestra claramente cuánto más impactante es la variante delta. Teniendo esto en cuenta, nos pareció imperativo que nos protegiéramos unos a otros y exigiéramos que nos cubriéramos el rostro. Esperamos que este mandato reduzca la propagación y ayude a mantener nuestras puertas abiertas y a los niños en las escuelas ”.
Los estudiantes que no puedan adquirir una máscara deben comunicarse con la administración de la escuela.
Los estudiantes que tengan un problema médico con el uso de cubrebocas (mascarillas), deben comunicarse con la administración de su escuela para obtener más instrucciones.
Written by KFDM/FOX4