Katy ISD approves Safe Back to School Plan

Katy ISD approves Safe Back to School Plan

In the plan, the district outlined five condition stages with their own respective protocols. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)

Katy ISD’s board of trustees officially approved the district’s Safe Return to School Plan for the 2021-22 school year on Aug. 30, after several hours of public comment both supporting and condemning the district’s move to not implement a mask policy. In the plan, the district outlined five condition stages with their own respective protocols.

According to the district, the condition stage will be determined through district leadership review of each positive case reported and determination of potential virus spread. Stage Five of the plan aims for prevention. This stage indicates there are no confirmed positive cases in the staff or student body. Stage Four focuses on mitigation, indicating one or more positive cases in the district. Stage Three graduates to modified operations, with Stage Two indicating a facility closure and Stage One calling for a district closure. Each campus in the district has it’s own stage, and that data is kept up to date on the district’s COVID-19 Dashboard on its website.

“It’s our right, from a constitutional standpoint, to choose individually—not as a government, not as an institution,” Jim Saba said at the Aug. 30 meeting, in favor of keeping masks optional. “We are people. We are parents. We know what’s right for our kids. … We are free people. That’s what this country’s made up. The CDC is not a lawmaker. They are not guidance, that’s only God.”

The plan does include preventative steps, such as daily self screenings for both staff and students, as well as social distancing, staying home when sick, and recommending—but not mandating—facial coverings. It also includes notification and isolation protocols. For example, if a student’s classroom or program is exposed, parents and staff of those specific classes or programs will receive a general notification email with an update no later than 5 p.m. on the day the case is reported.

“On the last day of school to disperse [the] COVID[-19] dashboard reported only 55 cases district wide,” Katy ISD parent Lee Nelson said at the Aug. 30 meeting. “After only eight days, the dashboard has reported 633 cases. The uncontrollable spread of COVID-19 is mostly within the vaccine of eligible elementary students. The district has tried this method of completely normal operations. Now, it isn’t working.”

The Safe Return to School Plan also includes an outline for the return for school practices for positive cases, including guidance on next steps for those with a positive test and no symptoms, a positive test with symptoms, a possible false positive, close contact and more. Details on the plan can be found at www.katyisd.org.

As of Sept. 2, the district had 989 active cases—with 536 elementary cases, 224 junior high cases and 210 high school cases.

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