COVID exposure: Canyon ISD requiring masks for all students and staff at Greenways Intermediate School

The Canyon ISD is now requiring masks for all students and staff at Greenways Intermediate School due to recent COVID exposures. 

“Due to the high percentage of students who have been exposed and are required to quarantine, the district will be implementing a mask requirement at Greenways Intermediate beginning April 20, 2021," Canyon ISD stated in a letter to parents and guardians.

The Canyon ISD issued the following statement to High Plains Pundit:

“Canyon ISD did send the letter to Greenways parents. We have 7 confirmed cases at Greenways Intermediate and the District moved forward and quarantined a significant number of students across multiple classrooms due to possible exposure.  

"We have required all students to wear masks until April 30th for precautionary measures. The District is asking parents to continue to monitor all students for symptoms of COVID-19.”

Masks became optional in all Canyon ISD facilities beginning on Monday, April 5th. Quarantine rules and other safety measures will remained the same.

“If students or staff are exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID and does not have a mask on, everyone within 6 feet of them in class or other areas for 15 minutes or more will be quarantined

“Students or staff who have been fully immunized or confirmed positive case within 90 days do not have to be quarantined," Canyon ISD said in a statement.

On March 2, 2021, Governor Abbott issued Executive Order GA-34 which addresses the statewide wearing of face coverings (i.e., masks), which took effect March 10, 2021. TEA’s authority to implement operational requirements for public schools remains in effect (e.g., TEA’s Public Health Guidance). 

As a result of the lifting of the order on masks, TEA has updated its Public Health Guidance. Under this updated guidance, a public school system’s current practices on masks may continue unchanged. Local school boards have full authority to determine their local mask policy.

TEA has also made updates related to surface cleaning requirements. 

The Canyon ISD Board of Trustees voted 4-2 during March's regular meeting to make masks optional. Board members Bill Jenkins and Matt Parker voted against the motion while Linda Hinders, Katharyn Wiegand, Jenni Winegarner and Randy Darnell voted in favor of the motion. 

Board President Bruce Cobb was not required to vote, since he is the presiding officer of the board.

Jenkins said he voted against lifting the mask mandate after meeting with teachers, coaches, community members and a local doctor. 

“I just feel very strongly about protecting our teachers, protecting our students. I want to make a decision that does the most good for the most amount of people so that when we get through this whole thing, we can look back and not have any regrets," Jenkins said. 

Katharyn Wiegand, who voted in favor of the motion, said at the board could reinstate the mask requirement if the COVID situation worsened again.

“We are going to monitor positive COVID cases and quarantines every day. If we see that trend changing, then we are going to take action again because we want to do the right thing for everyone in the best possible way. 

"This is not a one-time decision, and it’s going to be a lot of continuing conversations," Wiegand said.