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Krum ISD.

KRUM — Krum ISD school board members Wednesday evening decided to follow their superintendent’s advice and leave the district’s existing mask policy untouched for the time being.

Interim Superintendent Mike Davis, arguing in favor of keeping the policy, appealed to board members with the short time left in the school year.

“I think most of us could stand on our head for nine weeks,” Davis said.

While he supported the reopening of many businesses in Texas following Gov. Greg Abbott’s latest executive order, Davis said there were many factors to consider, including spring break, end-of-year testing, senior prom and graduation.

After speaking with administrators, Davis said there was “a general consensus that we don’t take any action, that we do what we’ve been doing.”

Abbott’s March 2 announcement ending the statewide mask mandate and allowing businesses to fully open on March 10 left school districts confused because it wasn’t clear how mask mandates in schools were affected.

The Texas Education Agency confirmed on March 3, one day after Abbott’s order, that districts would be allowed to opt out of existing mask policies by a school board vote.

Krum ISD was one of the first local school boards to meet since that guidance was released.

Davis, as well as many board members, made clear they didn’t like mask-wearing. But Davis said he didn’t think it would be horrible to continue to wear them through the end of the school year if it meant fewer infections and fewer people quarantining.

Debate over the mask policy took up the majority of board members’ time during the open portion of Wednesday’s meeting.

Brooke Fouts, who joined the board in 2020, asked if it would be possible to announce a firm end date to the mask policy by the end of the school year — April 1, for example.

Davis said most teachers still likely wouldn’t be vaccinated by then, so he wouldn’t support that.

Sue Real, who was reelected in 2019, was the most outspoken opponent of the mask policy.

Besides, she said, mask-wearing hadn’t eliminated the need to quarantine or other precautions.

From her perspective, Abbott gave Texans the option to wear masks, so it was only fair to pass that option along to students. She was clear she didn’t think the district’s mask policy should have been in place for as long as it had been.

Board President Eric Borchardt said it was true quarantining had been necessary, but there was no telling how bad things would have been without the masks.

“The governor’s action was not supported by the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention],” board member Phil Enis said. “It was not science-based at all.”

Real said her problem with the masks wasn’t to do with their efficacy or her personal dislike for them. Instead, she said her problem was “the constitutional issue” that the government shouldn’t be restricting her liberty or freedom.

“I don’t live in a communist society,” she said.

Ultimately, the decision lay with board members, but no board member was willing to bring the issue to a vote, meaning the status quo was maintained.

Members decided to reassess their stance at the next regular board meeting in April, though some members seemed interested in calling a special meeting before then to potentially vote on removing the mask policy.

MARSHALL REID can be reached at 940-566-6862 and via Twitter at @MarshallKReid.

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