Sharyland ISD opts out of mask mandate

MISSION— The Sharyland school board voted to make masks optional at an emergency meeting Monday afternoon, opting out of a county mandate issued in August requiring masks at local schools.

The motion approved by the board included a sentiment to “highly encourage” mask wearing, with trustees noting masks could potentially be required again based of COVID-19 case activity.

“ I think that masks are a great idea, what I don’t like personally are the mandates and I think us taking this decision upon the board is something great for the community and I look forward to working together as a community, making this better and keeping an eye on numbers,” said Trustee Alejandro Rodriguez, who was the sole SISD trustee to vote against accepting the county’s mandate in August. “And if they do change, just like the superintendent said, we will make another meeting and make another choice at that point.”

The district’s decision follows steady declines in case activity locally.

Early last week, Hidalgo County Health Authority Ivan Melendez said he felt those numbers indicated the mandate could be allowed to expire, before reversing course days later based on feedback from doctors and area superintendents and renewing the mandate.

Hidalgo County Judge Richard F. Cortez voiced his support for that decision, noting districts’ ability to opt out of the mandate.

Sharyland is not the first district in the county to make masks optional. Weslaco ISD did the same last month, although they took that step without a board vote.

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