Duncanville ISD families,
We have now been in school for a month. During that time, I’ve seen students who are happy to be back and are excited to be in person with their classmates. It’s my goal to keep our students safe and able to attend school, because we have seen there is no replacement for the social and emotional benefits of in-person learning.
Over the past couple of weeks, there has been a slight decrease in the number of COVID-19 cases reported to the district. To continue that downward trend of cases and proactively prepare for upcoming holiday breaks, I am enacting a temporary mask mandate effective Tuesday, Sept. 7. After the Labor Day holiday weekend, anyone inside a Duncanville ISD facility will be required to wear a face mask or face covering. Our staff will have plenty of face masks available if anyone needs one provided.
I believe it’s important to use the data we have to make informed decisions. For example, a review of our peak periods for COVID-19 over the past year shows an increase of cases after each holiday break. It is uncommon for the virus to be spread in our schools, but we know that the holiday periods are when families frequently gather and people may choose not to wear face masks around loved ones. With Labor Day weekend and an upcoming Fall Break in October, putting a temporary mask mandate in place is a proactive decision and attempt to mitigate the number of positive cases in our schools.
I specifically call this a temporary mask mandate because the courts have not made a final decision on this matter. Due to the nature of multiple court rulings and unpredictable outcomes in the future, we must remain fluid and be prepared for possible changes.
In the meantime, we will follow our district safety protocols and listen to the health experts who continue to encourage people who are eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine. To make that easy for you, we are hosting a free COVID-19 vaccination clinic this week at Duncanville High School in the West Gym. Students, family members, staff and community members who are 12 years old or older can schedule an appointment for Friday, September 3. We are partnering with Tom Thumb/Albertsons to host this clinic. To learn more and schedule an appointment, click here.
Between your survey responses, emails, calls and the discussions I’ve had with various stakeholders, I have been doing quite a bit of listening. I weighed all of your interests and the reasons before making this decision. Thank you for being so direct and sharing your concerns.
There was one common thread with everyone I communicated with - you wanted to make sure we are doing what is best for students. Putting students first is a great example of #UnstoppableExcellence.
Dr. Marc Smith
Superintendent of Schools