Effective Monday, Oct. 11, NISD is modifying the temporary face covering mandate approved by the NISD Board of Trustees on Aug. 17. While face masks will not be mandated, we will strongly encourage their continued use by all students, staff, and visitors while indoors and on school buses. We will ask staff to model this behavior.
The decision to move from mandating masks to strongly encouraging their use is based on improving metrics over time. Each week, we closely follow community spread indicators (including the percentage of positive tests and the cases per 100,000 residents) as well as the numbers of positive cases reported directly to our campuses. All of these metrics have been improving for a number of weeks.
In spite of this decision to modify our position, we are confident that during this school year the number of positive cases in our District has been manageable partially because of the use of face masks. Therefore, as we continue to monitor the number of positive cases in our schools, we are prepared to reinstate the mask mandate district-wide, or at specific campus(es), if confirmed COVID cases rise significantly.
All additional COVID protocols will remain in place including contact tracing, notification of confirmed cases, weekly website reporting, and frequent sanitizing. In addition, a student or staff member who chooses not to wear a face covering is, through contact tracing, more likely to be quarantined to help ensure the safety of our students and staff and the continuity of in-person learning.
We believe that we have an ethical obligation to our students and staff to keep them safe. While the positive health metrics over the past several weeks help us feel confident in this decision, we will be prepared to return to a temporary mask mandate if conditions warrant.
We appreciate your support as we prioritize student and staff safety and continue in-person learning.