Dallas ISD to Lift Mask Mandate Feb. 28

Citing improving data on COVID-19 cases, Dallas ISD superintendent Michael Hinojosa told trustees Thursday that the district would soon lift its mask mandate.

In January, district officials moved the potential end of the mandate to spring break.

“With the number of cases going down significantly in the county — in fact, we had single digits of students and staff members who are infected yesterday — we were initially going to wait until Martin Luther King Jr. Day, but the data did not allow us to do that,” he said at Thursday’s school board meeting.

Hinojosa said he had been having discussions with district staff, and those were continuing as they shape new guidance for schools for the remainder of the year.

“We’re going to continue to look at the data, and we’ll send out a formal announcement next week, but our plan is that as of Feb. 28 … we will make masks ‘recommended,'” he said.

Hinojosa was quick to caution that if a new cause for concern cropped up, the district would amend its guidance.

“If the data turns around and tells us that we need to go back to a protocol that requires us to wear masks, we will not hesitate to do that,” he said.

“It’s time for us to get to as much normality as we can,” trustee Dustin Marshall said. “We’ve been prudent and thoughtful about protecting our students and our staff members’ health, but I think it’s time.”

Board member Justin Henry asked about having visitors on campus, since campuses had been closed to visitors since the pandemic began. Hinojosa said district leaders had not made any final decisions, but that those conversations were happening and would be part of the formal announcement next week, as would the potential for spring field trips.

Hinojosa told Trustee Karla Garcia that the staff would also be taking a look at additional protocols and determining if any other changes needed to be made.

Bethany Erickson

Bethany Erickson, Digital Editor at People Newspapers, cut her teeth on community journalism, starting in Arkansas. Recently, she's taken home a few awards for her writing, including first place for her tornado coverage from the National Newspapers Association's 2020 Better Newspaper Contest, a Gold award for Best Series at the 2018 National Association of Real Estate Editors journalism awards, a 2018 Hugh Aynesworth Award for Editorial Opinion from the Dallas Press Club, and a 2019 award from NAREE for a piece linking Medicaid expansion with housing insecurity. She is a member of the Education Writers Association, the Society of Professional Journalists, the National Association of Real Estate Editors, the News Leaders Association, the News Product Alliance, and the Online News Association. She doesn't like lima beans, black licorice or the word synergy. You can reach her at bethany.erickson@peoplenewspapers.com.

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