HOUSTON — Houston Independent School District's Board of Trustees voted 8-0 Thursday night in favor of Superintendent Millard House II's mask mandate plan.
"The superintendent has concluded that requiring all students, staff and visitors to district campuses and facilities to wear masks while indoors and on school buses is in the best interest of the district by slowing the spread of the COVID-19 virus," the district's agenda for Thursday night read.
An updated plan will be sent out on Friday. The district's first day of school is Aug. 23.
"The COVID-19 pandemic seriously impacted instruction and the lives of district students, staff and the Houston-Harris County community during the 2019-2020 and the 2020-2021 school years," the district's agenda said. "With the increase of vaccinations, social distancing practices and wearing of face masks, the number of hospitalizations and deaths related to COVID-19 began to subside bringing hope for a more norman 2021-2022 school year."
Earlier Thursday, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo issued a mask mandate for all county schools and childcare centers.
On Aug. 5, the county's COVID-19 threat level was raised to the highest level.
"During the upcoming 2021-2022 school year the need to take all reasonable precautions to combat the spread of the virus is necessary," the district's agenda said.
Masks will not be required in HISD while eating or at other times that are deemed reasonably appropriate by school officials.
Those with religious beliefs or medical needs/disabilities that prohibit the wearing of masks will be excused from the mask requirement.
House plans to keep the mandate in place until "COVID-19-related cases subside," the district's agenda said.
Masks will be made available at campuses, district worksites and by bus operators for students and staff that need them.
KHOU 11 will have a one-on-one exclusive interview with House on Monday, Aug. 16 at 7 p.m. More information on that interview can be found here.