Frisco ISD’s new protocols, which no longer require face masks, will come into effect on June 1. (Courtesy of Adobe Stock)
Frisco ISD protocols for summer and fall courses will no longer require students and staff to wear face masks.
The news announced at the May 10 board meeting drew applause from dozens of attendees, several of whom spoke out at the meeting against the current mask requirement.
Daniel Stockton, executive director of government and district legal affairs, reported that the new rules are based on the continued decline in the number of positive COVID-19 cases. He said vaccine availability had also played a role in the evolution of protocols.
The change was announced on the same day that the United States Food and Drug Administration granted emergency use authorization for the Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to people aged 12 to 15. COVID-19 vaccinations were previously only available to people aged 16 and over.
The new district protocols will come into effect on June 1. Stockton said the district aims to ensure that no one will be treated differently based on their decision to wear or not to wear a mask.
The district plans to start allowing visitors to return to campuses this summer, he said. Also from June 1, only those who test positive for COVID-19 will be required to self-quarantine, Stockton said.
A distance of 6 feet between people will be observed where possible. Stockton said distancing would be more difficult in the fall, with more students and staff expected on campus.
The district’s online dashboard that tracks positive cases will also be phased out on June 1, he said.
Stockton said the Frisco ISD protocols are developed in collaboration with local health authorities.
Most of the requirements for this school year have been set by the Texas Education Agency. Stockton said the TEA has not offered any guidance to school districts for the summer or fall. He told council that if the TEA issues new guidelines or if the district sees changes based on variants of COVID-19, the district may revisit those protocols in the future.
“All the signs are pointing in the right direction at this point,” he said.
The protocols were announced for the fall to help some parents decide whether or not to enroll their children in virtual classes. The district is offering a virtual school for Grades 3 to 12 students for the 2021-2022 school year. Students must live within Frisco ISD boundaries and must commit to a full year in the virtual school, depending on the district.
Frisco ISD is awaiting approvals from the state legislature that would allow the virtual school to operate.
The district plans to have dedicated staff working for the virtual school. Registrations are accepted online through the district parent portal.