BACK TO SCHOOL: Katy ISD looking for a plan for masks for 2021-2022 school year

Back To School

FILE – a student wears a mask while doing his school work.


HOUSTON (CW39) – Officials in the Katy Independent School District are searching for guidance when its comes to mask mandates and keeping students safe.

Katy ISD received notice of Fort Bend and Harris counties public health orders requiring universal masking for students, staff and visitors in sch ool buildings for the 2021-2022 school year. However, Governor Abbotts Executive Order GA-38 currently prohibits public entities from issuing such mask mandates.

The District is reviewing the conflicting orders and seeking the guidance of legal counsel. It is our hope that some of the county and state legal proceedings will have concluded, and more clear guidance will be received from our state and local officials prior to the first day of school, on Wednesday, August 18.


In the meantime, the district continues to adhere to Katy ISD’s "Safe Return to School Plan", which states that face masks are optional for all students, staff and visitors. We encourage students and staff to get vaccinated if eligible, stay home when sick, practice good hygiene, and consider the CDCs recommendations for wearing masks when indoors. We look forward to welcoming back our students on Wednesday, August 18 and appreciate the trust and support of our students, staff and families.

Message to Katy ISD Parents/Guardians and Staff:

Dear Katy ISD Parents/Guardians and Staff,

In a few short days Katy ISD will open our school doors and welcome back over 87,000 students to begin another year of learning and growing. Our teachers and staff will do what our District has been known to do for many years, and that is to provide a world class education to all of our students.
Unfortunately we find ourselves in a familiar situation continuing to battle the COVID-19 pandemic. On the Katy ISD website you can find the Safe Return to School Plan. Just this week Katy ISD launched an opportunity for students in grades K-6 to enroll in virtual instruction through October 15th. The main reason we have launched this option is because a COVID-19 vaccine has yet to be approved for children under 12. We have also re-instated the COVID-19 rapid testing for employees, and once TEA resumes providing the test kits, students will have access to free testing as well. Please continue to watch the website as adjustments to the plan are sometimes necessary based on new guidance issued by state agencies.

Similar to last year, once again, school districts find themselves embroiled in the polarizing viewpoints concerning face coverings in schools. If you have been following the news throughout Texas, there appears to be a political battle as to who has the authority to regulate Texas public schools. Katy ISD finds itself in a unique position as we are situated in three counties.

I understand the uncertainties of the political landscape surrounding this situation can be frustrating for our families. I will not allow Katy ISD to become a political football when the conflict exists between state and local elected officials.

Last school year, Katy ISD along with all public school districts in Texas, followed the Executive Orders issued by Governor Abbott as well as the public health guidance provided by the Texas Education Agency (TEA). It is my intention that Katy ISD will continue to follow the TEA public health guidance and Governor Abbotts Executive Orders just as we did in the 2020-2021 school year. The CDC and local health officials recommend indoor masking of students, staff, and visitors in schools. For students and staff who choose to wear a facial covering for their personal protection, I support and encourage that recommendation. In closing, it is essential that I remain focused upon things within our control. I ask and encourage all of our families and staff continue to implement practices that will keep everyone safe. Students and staff should be excited and looking forward to a new school year. I cant wait to see our students back on campuses and participating in school activities.

Ken Gregorski, Ed.D.

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