Education News

Fort Bend ISD Board Votes To Mandate Masks In All County Schools

The 4-3 vote from the district’s board of trustees mandates all students and staff in Fort Bend County schools must now wear a mask indoors.

Parent Kirsten Hussenoeder sits at a silent protest before a Fort Bend County ISD vote on mask mandates, on Aug. 23, 2021. Hussenoeder said she was in support of mandating masks in schools.

Fort Bend ISD trustees voted in favor of a mask mandate for the district during a meeting that lasted into the early morning hours Tuesday.

The district started school with no mask mandate on Aug. 11. After a week of hundreds of positive cases, County Judge KP George issued a mask mandate for the county while raising the COVID-19 threat level to red. That order did not apply to schools, however.

The 4-3 vote from the district’s board of trustees changed that: Now, all students and staff in Fort Bend County schools must now wear a mask indoors.

A start date for the mandate was not revealed at the meeting.

The rising number of COVID-19 cases in the district has raised concerns for parents like Kirsten Hussenoeder, who said the 791 active cases among staff and students shouldn't be taken lightly.

"I'm frantic every single day," she said. "(My son) had a very mild stomach ache today and I kept him home.”

Parents held a silent protest both in favor of and against the mandate as the school board weighed the decision, during a meeting which lasted past midnight.

District parent Kelly Pope, who has three children in Fort Bend ISD, said she was against the mask mandate. Her children say they can't breathe in the masks and they break out on their skin, she said.

“The first day of school hundreds of cases were reported and we know they didn’t get it from school," Pope said. “So why are we counting it against schools?”

Lisa Mitchell wondered if the board's decision was the best one, and expressed concern about the future of the pandemic in local schools.

“Will this be indefinite or will they only do it for a couple of weeks and see how it works?” Mitchell said. “If it doesn't work and the COVID cases continue to go up, will they remove the mask mandate, knowing that it's not working?”

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