SAN ANTONIO — Northside Independent School District has announced it's reinstating its indoor mask mandate in response to the recent rise in COVID-19 cases among the omicron surge. In a letter to families, NISD Superintendent Dr. Brian Woods explained the district's decision.
"Given the transmissibility of this strain of the virus and the student and staff absenteeism associated with it, we will be returning to a temporary, indoor mask mandate. The members of our Board and I do not make this decision lightly, but feel that we must use this tool given the current disruption to in-person learning," Dr. Woods said in a letter posted to the NISD website.
He went on to say that the mandate is driven by concerns for student and staff safety – and is not motivated by the current legal battles on this issue.
The face-covering mandate will go into effect Thursday, January 20 and Dr. Woods said, "Will only last as long as is necessary to get our community through this current surge in the virus' impact on our schools."
The district is also asking families to consider volunteering if they aren't already – saying schools can use all the help they can get.
"If you do not already volunteer in your child's schools, we would encourage you to contact the campus and offer your assistance," Dr. Woods said. "Please check with the campus before going to the school. Together, we can get through this surge in the virus and return to a more normal school experience."
NISD said as of late last week, almost 20% of students were absent and almost 15% of staff were out.
Dr. Woods also addressed the upcoming severe winter weather.
"We are watching this carefully and will make an announcement with regard to school on Thursday either late today or very early Thursday morning," he said.