CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — A temporary mask mandate set for thirty days expired Friday, and Corpus Christi ISD school officials have decided to "strongly recommend" masks moving forward.
“It is encouraged and recommended that staff and students will wear a mask while indoors, although it will no longer be a formal requirement,” said Superintendent Dr. Roland Hernandez. “As we wait for the vaccine to become available to our younger students, it is important to continue doing everything we can to maintain a healthy learning environment for ourselves as well as to demonstrate care for one another.”
The district says this update is effective at 4:31 p.m., Friday.
Leanne Libby, chief communications officer with CCISD, said that the mask mandate did its job.
"We feel like we played a part in helping our community through this surge, helping those numbers go down." Libby said. "We are certainty not done with the pandemic, but we are really encouraged by the decrease in the numbers."
Nueces County has seen a decrease in COVID-19 case numbers, and that will be used to determine if the school district will continue mask mandates or discontinue them and leave that up to parents.
"We did put that temporary mask requirement for 30 days and we did see that really help us get that number really high in terms of people wearing masks in school," Libby said.
Dr. Srikanth Ramachandruni, the local health authority, said that news of the safety of the Pfizer vaccine when it comes to children between the ages 5-11 is great, but CCISD should take certain things into consideration when deciding if the mask mandate should end.
"Whenever we are considering taking away the mask mandates from the schools," he said, "there are two things to consider, the positivity rate in the area should be below 5 percent."
We are still not there but on our way there, according to Ramachandruni. He also said that CCISD should wait until parents can vaccinate their children once the Pfizer vaccine is approved for children between 5 and 11-years old.
"I think it is reasonable to extend that mask mandate in my opinion," Dr. Ramachandruni said.