WACO, Texas — Waco ISD Superintendent Dr. Susan Kincannon released an update regarding health and safety protocols that will be in place on district campuses for the coming school year.
“There is no doubt that this year will look different from last year - and not just because all of our students will be learning in person this year. In May and again last month, Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued executive orders prohibiting school districts from requiring anyone to wear a mask," Kincannon said. "Last week, the Texas Education Agency issued new public health rules, which prevent school districts from requiring students in close contact with someone who tested positive to quarantine, leaving the decision of whether or not to quarantine up to each student's parents/guardians."
In response to the latest guidance from the Texas Education Agency and Gov. Greg Abbott's executive orders, Waco ISD will:
- Encourage, but not require, face masks
- Encourage employees and students to get vaccinated when eligible
- Conduct contact tracing
- Notify parents/guardians if their child is considered a close contact for a positive COVID-19 case
- Notify faculty/staff if they are considered a close contact for a positive case
- Update the district's COVID-19 dashboard
- Continue to use rapid testing for students and staff
- Provide assignments to students who are unable to attend school after testing positive for COVID-19 or whose parents/guardians opt to quarantine after being identified as a close contact
- Monitor attendance and achievement of students and adjusting plans as needed
Kincannon said students who are absent because they tested positive or because they were a close contact will receive excused absences. Teachers will also send home assignments and students will be expected to keep up with work while they're out.
The superintendent also urged parents, guardians and eligible students to get vaccinated and encouraged people to wear face coverings inside district schools and buildings.
"While not required, wearing a face mask around other people remains one of the easiest and most effective ways to protect them and yourself. We'll continue to provide face masks for employees and students," she said.
The school district will provide free COVID-19 vaccination at its annual Family Fest at University and Waco high schools on Saturday, Aug. 14 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Those interested can pre-register here.