All staff, students, families and visitors of Clarksville ISD will be required to wear a mask. The mask mandate is effective Aug. 16 for all employees, and Aug. 18 for all students, families and visitors.
Late Friday night, Clarksville ISD Superintendent Dr. Kermit Ward released a statement in regard to a mask mandate for all students, staff, families and visitors, which will be in effect until Sept. 3, 2021, at which time the school board will determine whether to lift or extend the mandate.
“The priority of the CISD trustees and myself is to provide a safe learning environment for all students and staff,” Ward said in a release from the school district. “This mandate will aid in our pursuit to help reduce the spread of the Delta variant of COVID-19, therefore keeping our school system open.”
Ward said the decision was based on local data, as 79 individuals in Red River County tested positive for COVID-19 as of Aug. 13 – “well above any that we experienced at any point last year.
“The latest national data also reports that the Delta variant is affecting kids more aggressively than any of the previous variants of COVID-19,” Ward continued. “Lastly, emergency room and pediatric beds are scarce, not only in our area but in other areas of our state.”
In regard to current state law, Ward said “several legal experts report that the Texas governor’s order banning mask mandates in public schools is an executive overreach and a violation of public law.”
“From a personal perspective, whether to enact masks or not, should rest entirely with local school boards and the communities they represent, yet this issue has been heavily politicized and now polarizing thus making this much more difficult than it well should be.”
Ward said the district requiring face masks will be temporary until Sept. 3, 2021, when the district and trustees will monitor local data, seek guidance from health experts and attorneys to decide whether the requirement will be lifted or extended.
“As the proud superintendent of CISD, I believe it is important to remain sensitive to the thoughts and concerns of the trustees and the community and stand up for the safety of the most vulnerable citizens in our community – the children,” Ward said. “There is an unwritten agreement between parents and their child’s school, and it is when their kids are under the care of the school system, we do everything we can to keep them safe.”