FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – One of the first school districts in North Texas to demand masks in defiance of Gov. Greg Abbott’s order has announced it is relinquishing the mandate.
Starting Thursday, October 28, masks will be optional on all campuses of Crowley ISD, which covers parts of the southwestern Fort Worth area.
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“I would rather she wear a mask,” said Belen Badejo, whose daughter attends a CISD elementary school. “I have already had, I think, three opinions on cases in his class alone.”
She’s not the only parent who feels uncomfortable with change.
âMy kids have really bad allergies and they have asthma, so I just think if they get COVID it’s going to be worse for them,â said Jessica Alvarado, who has two kids at a CISD elementary school.
In a video message posted to the school’s website, Superintendent Dr Michael McFarland said he was choosing to lift the mask’s warrant now after seeing a significant decrease in the number of COVID-19 infections among students and staff over the past six weeks.
Data from the district show cases peaked in September, with nearly 300 students testing positive. That number fell to 24 this week.
âAs we review our pandemic protocols, as well as our academic assessment results and student enrollment numbers, we see evidence that our strategies for safely educating students in a high quality manner have been successful. of success, âsaid Superintendent McFarland.
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The superintendent also cited the drop in the number of new cases in Tarrant County and improved hospital capacity for the decision.
âWe certainly think the worst is over,â said Rajesh Nandy, professor of biophysics and epidemiology at UNT Health Science Center.
Nandy says current trends are encouraging, but it’s important to continue taking preventative measures to avoid another flare-up in the spring, when overall immunity may start to wane.
âSo the critical thing is that by next spring we want a lot of children to be vaccinated,â Nandy said.
Even as masks become optional, McFarland strongly encourages students and staff to choose to wear them.
âIt is also clear that we should choose to get vaccinated when possible, for the common good of others,â he said. “I always challenge everyone to take care of each other and practice personal responsibility.”
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The ICAD plans to continue to monitor key metrics and listen to expert medical advice as it transitions to the “Masks Encouraged” policy on Thursday.