Red Oak ISD Discusses Mask Requirements

Red Oak ISD PPE graphic
Red Oak ISD PPE graphic by Red Oak

Red Oak Return To School Update

RED OAK – At the recent Special Called Red Oak ISD School Board meeting Superintendent Brenda Sanford outlined a few of the many changes the district will see in the upcoming school year.

Sanford told the school board trustees, “As I told you in the presentation that I did, those [health and safety guidelines] are ever changing.”

Red Oak ISD’s first day of class is scheduled for August 20, 2020 and things are still uncertain regarding COVID-19 health and safety procedures.

Of course, Sanford said some of the changes deal with masks/face coverings. They are looking at CDC recommendations and the TEA guidelines. She noted one of the issues was a shield was initially recommended, but that has now changed.

“They have since pulled that and now they are saying the shield is only in certain circumstances,” Sanford explained. “They are not highly recommending the shield anymore so just an example of how things are ever changing.”

Sanford also mentioned that according to the Attorney General’s office a statement was issued that school districts are not required to abide by the local restrictions if they are more restrictive than what TEA and CDC has allocated.

Red Oak ISD is working with local entities but have not released any further restrictions that go above and beyond TEA, the Governor or CDC.

Note-While board members and presenters were wearing face masks, Trustee Penny Story appeared to be the only one not wearing a mask.

Taking notice of children pre-k to third grade

Red Oak ISD is working too on issues regarding requiring pre-k – or anyone three and older – to wear a mask.

“We met as a leadership group and principals and we talked about those students who are pre-k to third grade,” Sanford explained. “What could we do to give the parents and teachers a level of safety but not restrict those kids. Some of the things we are talking about, nothing in place yet, but possible when those students are going to and from the classrooms, in the hallways, in the restrooms places like they can wear their face coverings. If they are one-on-one face to face, really close proximity to the teacher for protection measure they might possibly could wear them. When they are at their desk the [students] not wearing those masks.”

Sanford said wearing masks at the desks is just too restrictive when students are sitting and working. So if they are at least three feet apart at their desks, then masks will not be required.

ROISD Virtual Learning

ROISD is willing to be flexible with learning to help students learning from home. Students will have the option to complete work outside of school hours to accomodate students & parents. There’s an opportunity every day for students to log in and interact with their teacher depending on whether it’s elementary or secondary.

The district recognizes each campus will be fluid depending on the ratio of in person and virtual learning. Students that are asynchronous will have to check in everyday for the 90% attendance requirement from TEA. There are three ways learning engagement will be managed: a student interacts with teacher via Zoom, student logins to learning management program, student completes assignments on learning management platform.

This Thursday and Friday device checkout is scheduled for the district. They expect to hand out between 2100-2300 devices during that those days from 10am – 6pm.

The Future of Athletic Events

Athletic events were also on everyone’s mind. While schools have been released to play sports starting in September, guidelines are still being considered.

“Indoor sports like volleyball and basketball we are still going to be doing what we are doing for all students and visitors,” Sanford explained. “This is temperature checks for indoors. Outdoor activities currently are self-screening. It will be 50% capacity, that is the current guidelines. Visitors will be allowed but it will be at 50% capacity.”

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) state allotment

The state allotment of PPE was to be picked up for the new school year last week. Sanford said the district was notified not everything will be available.

“It will be like Christmas,” she said. “We are not sure when we get there what we will have since some of the items are on backorder. It could be September before we get [items].

Governor Abbott in TDEM warehouse
Governor Abbott tours TDEM warehouse where PPE is stored Photo Office of Governor 8/4/2020

Last week, Texas Governor Greg Abbott visited the Texas Division of Emergency Management’s Warehouse in San Antonio. He said regarding the state’s distribution of Personal Protective Equipment to Texas school districts for the 2020-2021 academic year the state will continue to purchase and distribute PPE to schools at no cost to the school districts.

According to Abbott the state has already distributed the following PPE to Texas schools:

59,410,640 masks

567,948 gallons of hand sanitizer

24,017 thermometers

511,294 face shields

Governor Abbott also announced the same day that President Trump has extended federal funding for the Texas National Guard’s mission to help combat COVID-19 in communities across the state.

If you’re looking for face masks for your students we have two articles showing face masks for children and adults: Back to School Shopping: Face Masks and Find the Right Face Mask For You.