Diboll school trustees have approved a revised COVID-19 mitigation plan that no longer require masks at all times.
“Upon the development and implementation of the COVID-19 District Mitigation Plan, it has always been considered a working document,” superintendent Vicki Thomas said. “The board agreed to review the data and the plan at least monthly from the onset of approval of the recommendation.”
With the revised plan, masks will not be required if the number of COVID-19 confirmed positive and probable cases within 10 prior consecutive school days is 3% or below, which is 62 cases districtwide.
The 3% threshold was chosen because any positivity rate over 5% is considered high, according to The Texas Department of State Health Services, meaning more people are testing positive for the virus and there is a higher risk of getting infected, Thomas said. For Diboll ISD, 5% equals 103 active cases, and the district experienced that rate between Aug. 25 and Sept. 9, with positive caseloads of 103 to 106, and attendance fell to 89.5%, she said.
“Our trend data of positive cases shows that 3% manageable to the system,” she said “Six days after mandating masks as part of our mitigation plan, our COVID cases among both staff and students fell, and since Sept. 10, the district has experienced between zero and two cases daily across the school district to the present day.”
If the number of districtwide cumulative cases rises above 3%, however, masks will be required of all staff, students and visitors throughout the district in all buildings and buses until the number of confirmed COVID-19 positive cases falls below the 3% threshold for 10 consecutive school days.
Masks also will be required after all major holiday breaks — Thanksgiving, Christmas and spring break — for all employees, students and visitors for 10 consecutive school days from the date of the return from the holiday.
The district will continue with other safety measures including daily temperature checks for all students, staff and visitors, deep cleaning the campuses, maintaining distance between students and staff and ongoing hand sanitizing.
“Our staff and students have done a tremendous job with all of the mitigation efforts,” Thomas said. “Our data shows that these mitigation efforts are working to prevent COVID-19 transmission in our schools.”
The district will remain in close contact with local health authorities related to levels of community spread, hospitalization and vaccination rates.
“Our students and employees’ health and safety remain our utmost priority and we will continue to take all precautions necessary to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our schools,” Thomas said.