The manuscript is below:
Greetings Owl Family,
This is Scott Beene Superintendent of Schools with a very important message. ASCISD understands Governor Abbott’s lift of the mask mandate in Texas, we also understand that individuals and businesses have the authority and right to continue to wear and require masks if they choose to do so. In public education, we have to follow rules and guidelines from federal, state, and local agencies. According to the Texas Education Agency, it is up to the local school board to determine the procedures or requirements to wear masks while at school or school-sponsored events. As much as we would all like to return to “normal”, the current pandemic does not allow us to completely do so. Public schools are still required to report and quarantine all positive cases, contact trace, and quarantine students and staff who are in close contact with those positive COVID cases. With this requirement still in place, ASCISD does not feel it is in the best interest of our students to lift the mask mandate while at school. Therefore, ASCISD will continue to require all students and staff to wear masks while inside the building.
However, beginning tomorrow, Wednesday, March 10, ASCISD will not require masks to be worn outside during recess, outdoor PE or athletics, outdoor classroom activities where social distancing is sustainable, and other outdoor events hosted by ASCISD. These are the ONLY current exceptions to the requirement to wear a face-covering while at school. ASCISD will reserve the right to reverse these exceptions if necessary to continue to keep our students safe and healthy.
I would like everyone to think about our school district, we have 400+ students on our elementary campus and 475+ students on our secondary campus and some classrooms have over 25 students. IF we were not requiring masks to be worn in classrooms and 1 student in a class tests positive, potentially, the entire class would be required to quarantine. This quarantine could exponentially affect 75+ students easily on either of our campuses. For this reason, we feel it best and safest for our students to continue to wear masks during school so we can keep OUR school open. We have 46 days of school remaining, we have worn masks for more than 125 days. We can work together and support each other over the next 2.5 months. At ASCISD, we are very concerned about the health and safety of our students and staff, this discussion and decision was not taken lightly by any of our staff, administration, or our school board; however, we feel it is the best decision for ALL of the Owl Family.
So one last recap, ASCISD will continue to require face coverings to be worn while at school with a few exceptions as mentioned earlier. We ask that you respect our decision and visit with your children about why this is important for the safety of all.
Thank you for your time and understanding of why ASCISD will continue to have students and staff wear masks while at school or on the bus, we want to finish our school year strong and with as many students in our buildings as possible to provide the best education possible to each of our students.
Stay safe and healthy Owl Family!!
Scott Beene, Superintendent