Texas to lift mask mandate March 10, district looks to plan next steps

Broken+and+unworn%2C+a+mask+hangs+beside+the+Texas+flag.+Governor+Greg+Abbott+passed+an+executive+order+March+2+lifting+the+mask+mandate+and+allowing+businesses+to+open+to+full+capacity.+%22With+this+executive+order%2C+we+are+ensuring+that+all+businesses+and+families+in+Texas+have+the+freedom+to+determine+their+own+destiny%2C%22+Abbott+said.

Neena Sidhu

Broken and unworn, a mask hangs beside the Texas flag. Governor Greg Abbott passed an executive order March 2 lifting the mask mandate and allowing businesses to open to full capacity. “With this executive order, we are ensuring that all businesses and families in Texas have the freedom to determine their own destiny,” Abbott said.

Maddie Moats, Reporter

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Update: Based on guidance from health experts, staff and parents, the district announced March 5 that Prosper ISD will require face masks for the rest of the school year except when outdoors beginning March 15. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued an executive order March 2 to lift the mask mandate and open businesses and facilities to full capacity, effective March 10.

Citing declines in COVID-19 hospitalizations, increased vaccinations, immunity and improved medical practices, Abbott signed the order, leaving citizens around the country with mixed opinions and reactions. Although the mandate is lifted, Abbott stated that COVID-19 has not disappeared.

“Today’s announcement does not abandon safe practices that Texans have mastered over the past year,” Abbott said. “Instead, it is a reminder that each person has a role to play in their own personal safety and the safety of others. With this executive order, we are ensuring that all businesses and families in Texas have the freedom to determine their own destiny.”

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According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, as of March 3, officials reported 4,781 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Texas, with an estimated 1,400 probable cases, with a total of 42,575 fatalities. 

“Individuals are strongly encouraged to wear face coverings over the nose and mouth whenever it is not feasible to maintain six feet of social distancing from another person not in the same household,” the executive order stated. “But, no person may be required by any jurisdiction to wear or mandate the wearing of a face covering.”

Although the order prevents any penalties such as fines or jailing for not wearing a mask, businesses and schools can still choose how they want to operate and enforce safety measures.

“Nothing in this executive order precludes businesses or other establishments from requiring employees or customers to follow additional hygiene measures, including the wearing of a face covering,” Abbott’s official announcement stated.

In an announcement to the school, principal John Burdett said that Superintendent Holly Ferguson will hold conference calls and survey parents and community members to determine the district’s plan regarding masks. The plan will likely be sent out from the district over spring break.

“Your opinions are valued and respected by me and those on the staff no matter where you fall with the decision, however, what we are going to do at PHS is continue to follow the rules that are determined by the district,” Burdett said. “We are going to continue to treat each other as family. We’re going to continue to respect each other. We’re going to continue to support each other.”

“Your opinions are valued and respected by me and those on the staff no matter where you fall with the decision, however, what we are going to do at PHS is continue to follow the rules that are determined by the district.”

— Principal John Burdett

Students have shown their opinions regarding Abbott’s executive order on social media.

“I am happy. Honestly, the school should follow his lead,” senior Logan Creel said. “Their entire reasoning was that they were following his orders, so now they should let up, and let us not have to wear these masks.”

Freshman Jaeda Crabtree also offered her opinion.

“I love the idea,” Crabtree said. “I think the schools should make it optional to wear a mask because some people don’t like wearing masks, and some people want to wear them to protect themselves, which is understandable.”

Currently, Prosper ISD still requires all students and staff to wear masks or other facial coverings.

“If the mask mandate was lifted at the school, I would probably ask to switch to virtual because I don’t really feel comfortable in an environment where people aren’t doing what they can to protect others,” senior Sarah Purcell said. “Since masks have become kind of a political statement, it could also be kind of socially ostracizing to make that choice at school with your peers.”

Amanda Hare and Caleb Audia also helped with reporting on this article.

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