The Pineywoods Community Academy Board of Directors voted to rescind their mask mandate at its regular board meeting Monday night.

The mask mandate — which was implemented on Sept.7 — came after the school surveyed parents and staff on whether or not to make the requirement, director Ken Vaughn said. The results showed an almost 50-50 split among both groups and very strong opinions on both sides of the matter, he said.

The decision to rescind it, however, came from scrutiny from the state as well as a fear of losing state funding, Vaughn said. The decision also comes after a number of other districts in the state — including Lufkin, Diboll and Longview — have received lawsuits from Attorney General Ken Paxton.

The school still strongly encourages their students to wear masks and will continue with frequent cleaning and disinfecting of all their facilities, Vaughn said. Additionally, the school may need to change protocols at any time to address specific needs and circumstances in order to protect the health and safety of the staff and students, he said.

“Pineywoods Community Academy is committed to the safety of our students and staff,” he said.

Attempts to receive additional comments from Vaughn late Tuesday were unsuccessful.

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