Brownwood school board keeps mask policies in place

Masks now optional in Bangs, Early, Zephyr, Blanket and Brookesmith districts

Steve Nash
Brownwood Bulletin
Masks

The Brownwood school board voted Monday night to keep mask protocols in place until further notice, while school boards in Bangs, Early, Zephyr, Blanket and Brookesmith have voted that wearing masks in schools will be optional for employees and students.

The May school board meets Thursday night.

After Gov. Greg Abbott rescinded the mask mandate for Texas on March 10, the Texas Education Agency provided an option for local school boards to vote to remove the mask mandate from schools.  

“There are strong opinions about masks, their effectiveness, and if people should be required to wear them,” Brownwood superintendent Dr. Joe Young said via email. “While a consideration, the decision that was made focused on close contact and quarantine.”

Young noted that the governor, TEA, CDC and local health department have made no modifications to the close contact rules. Students and staff without a mask will be sent home if they are exposed to someone with COVID, Young said.

“The staff has worked very hard to overcome challenges over the last 12 months,” Young said. “With 10 weeks of school left, the possibility that we have students and staff being sent home for exposure was the most significant consideration. We recently had to close our Head Start facility (3- and 4-year-olds) based on quarantine and case numbers. We did not want to risk that happening on a larger scale.”

Early ISD

The Early school district posted on its Facebook page:

As you are aware, Governor Abbott rescinded the mask mandate for Texas on March 10. In addition, the Texas Education Agency has provided an option for local school boards to vote to remove the mask mandate from schools.  

(Monday night), the Early ISD Board of Trustees met to discuss the mask mandate and local health protocols. After much discussion, the Early ISD Board of Trustees voted to make masks optional on all campuses. The changes made are as follows:

• Masks will be optional for all students and employees within Early ISD, this is a freedom of choice.  

• Students/employees who test positive for COVID-19 or show symptoms will still be required to quarantine per local guidelines

• All close contact quarantine procedures will be followed.

• More information will be communicated to secondary students (Tuesday).

Zephyr

The school board has voted to adopt the governor's new order and allow the wearing of masks to be optional, the district said on its Facebook page. Though no longer required, students and staff who would like to wear masks are encouraged to do so.

Bangs

The Bangs school board has voted to make masks optional for students and teachers effective Tuesday, the district Facebook page said.

Blanket

The Blanket school board has voted to give employees and students options to go without masks, with parents required to sign a release if students don’t wear them, Blanket superintendent David Wisenhunt said.

“The rest of our (COVID) protocol is still in effect,” Wisehnunt said, referring to local policies.

Blanket has not had a COVID case or anyone quarantined since Thanksgiving, Wisenhunt said. Two weeks before Thanksgiving, several students and 10 or 11 teachers had COVID, and a teacher died, the superintendent said.

Brookesmith

Superintendent Steve Mickelson said the school board passed a resolution, and the district is not requiring students or staff to wear masks. “If they opt to wear them they certainly can, but it is not anything that is required,” Mickelson said.