Students make decisions about masking


Getting work done • Sophomores Marie Rodriguez and Elizabeth Gutierrez choose to wear their face masks as they work on an assignment for their English II honors class. Photo by Lizett Garcia.

With the cold and flu season coming up, some KHS students may be wondering if KISD schools will need to issue a mask mandate due to COVID-19.

During the 2020-2021 school year, KHS had a school-wide mask mandate. However, the school board lifted the mask mandate in May of 2021 before graduation. Face masks are no longer required for the 2021-2022 school year, and students can choose whether or not they want to wear one.

The mask mandate was not only lifted at KHS, but also all across Texas. On March 10, 2021, Governor Greg Abbott took down Texas’ statewide mask mandate. Face masks are now optional for many schools across the state.

However, some schools have started to issue mask mandates. For example, Longview Independent School District (LISD) started the school year with face masks being optional. Then, LISD issued a mask mandate which became effective on Monday, August 23, 2021.

The reason behind the mask mandate was a rise in the amount of positive COVID-19 cases at LISD schools.

School started on August 16, 2021 for LISD students. On Friday August 20, 2021 LISD reported twenty-eight active student cases. Thirty-eight active employee cases were also reported on the same day.

With LISD schools on a mask mandate, the real question is: will KHS need to put up a mask mandate? The answer depends on the amount of positive COVID-19 cases here at KHS.

As of right now, KHS has had a total of three lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases. Unlike at LISD, KHS has not had a large increase of COVID-19 cases among students and employees. This is possibly due to the various safety measures taken at KHS.

“We are consistently monitoring our student attendance for students that are quarantined for symptoms and lab-confirmed positive results,” KHS principal April Cox said.

While the chances of a mask mandate may change, there are several factors that are contributing to preventing a KHS mask mandate.

One of these factors is the increasing vaccination rates of students and staff members.

According to the CDC, the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine can prevent individuals from getting sick and possibly spreading the virus. In Texas, 51% of the population is fully vaccinated. As the vaccination rates continue to increase, the spread of COVID should become more controlled.

Proper health and hygiene practices can also contribute to decreasing the possibility of a mask mandate. Washing your hands, covering your cough/sneeze, and using hand sanitizer are all good ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Any positive COVID-19 cases will continue to be monitored throughout the school year and safety precautions will also be taken as necessary. As long as the number of lab-confirmed cases at KHS doesn’t have a drastic increase, a mask mandate will not be necessary.