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COVID-19 Protocols Mostly Going Away, Little Elm ISD Announces

 

kids in masks

May 18, 2021

The Little Elm ISD will relax most of its COVID-19 protocols as it closes a school year and begins to plan for a new one. During a Monday night Board of Trustees meeting, board members voted to approve a resolution that would make masks optional beginning May 21 just in time for the Little Elm High School graduation. The Texas Education Agency gave local school boards the authority to make masks optional after the Governor ended the mandate earlier this spring. The District chose to keep the masks in place until the end of the school year.

“We want our seniors and their families to enjoy graduation. This year it will be at our Lobo Stadium, outside with plenty of fresh air,” said Daniel Gallahger, superintendent.  “As you know, we have done a great job keeping track of our active COVID-19 cases. We are pleased to see the numbers remain low this spring in our District and in the county, which is the reason why we’re making these changes.”

With this recent decision by the board, summer school students next month will have the option to wear a mask to school. 

District leadership presented information at the board meeting and addressed the COVID protocols and what that will look like moving into a new school year. “These protocols were developed primarily for the health and safety of our staff and students because there was no protection in place,” said Dr. Cyndy Mika, assistant superintendent, who led the protocol development committee last summer. “In order to get back to school safely and to have some sort of semblance of working together, we had to put in place protocols.”

Mika cited the changing circumstances as a reason to loosen the protocols for the summer and into the next school year. She stated COVID positive case counts have dropped drastically across the country, Texas, and Little Elm. All Little Elm ISD staff were afforded the opportunity to receive a vaccination earlier this spring, and the District is planning to host a vaccination clinic Wednesday, May 26 at Chavez Elementary from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., to vaccinate Little Elm ISD students and their families ages 12 and up with the FDA-authorized Pfizer vaccine. 

In addition to making masks optional, the District’s reporting tool on the website will be taken down and weekly communications about active cases will stop. The District will no longer conduct contact tracing, however, they will ask parents and staff to report a COVID positive diagnosis to the school nurse. Only COVID positive individuals will quarantine and parents will continue to receive communication when there is a positive case in their child’s classroom. 

Earlier this month, the District made the decision to end at-home learning which means 100% of their students will return to campus. Social distancing will be encouraged, but not regulated by campus administrators. “Visitors will be allowed back on campuses according to our standard visiting rules, pre-pandemic. We want to welcome our community and parents back on campuses,” said Mika.

Little Elm ISD recognized that the protocols may have to adjust at any given time. “If anything is decided by the TEA or the Governor, or if the case counts increase, we will have to revisit them. But because we have seen the numbers continue to decline, we feel confident that it is time we relax some of those protocols before heading into the summer months and into a new school year,” said Gallagher.