Longview ISD to lift mask mandate since COVID cases dropped below 1%


LONGVIEW, Texas (KETK) – Longview ISD will lift their mask mandate beginning Nov. 20 due to the low number of cases across the district.

The rescinding of the mandate is due to the ongoing decline in COVID-19 cases in the district, according to LISD.

After Nov. 20, students, staff, and visitors at LISD will no longer be required to wear face coverings at district facilities or events.

Superintendent Dr. James Wilcox said the decision was based solely on the data and facts available to the district.

“We have been monitoring cases and recoveries in Longview from the very beginning of this pandemic to today, and we will continue to do so,” he said. “Just as we issued the mandate [in August] because of the dramatic spike in COVID-19 cases, we are removing the mandate today because the evidence shows that we have successfully beaten this back in our community.”

78% of teachers and staff of Longview ISD are currently vaccinated, according to LISD.

“As of yesterday…we had 4 staff members that were active and 13 students out of nearly 9000 students and 1200 employees,” said Wilcox.

This is a complete turnaround from the numbers that prompted the mask mandate during the first week of school.

Hundreds of students and staff members tested positive for COVID-19 in the first week of school.

“I am charged with the safety of every student as well as faculty members in this district…with the data we had it was the prudent thing to do to try to mitigate what was happening,” said Wilcox.

After 2 months of everyone wearing masks, LISD’s cases dropped to less than 1%.

“The feeling of the district leadership is that the preventative measures being taken by our staff, students, and families have proven extremely effective in reducing the spread of COVID-10 in the community,” said Dr. Wilcox. “It’s a huge testament to the wonderful people in this district that have helped make this possible.”

Dr. Wilcox said the administration will continue to monitor cases in the district throughout the holiday season.

Although the district plans to lift the mandate, some parents said that for their children, the mask mandate does not matter.

“My kids are always gonna have a mask regardless if it’s lifted or not,” said Annie Liscano, Longview ISD parent.

“While this latest development is certainly encouraging, we will remain vigilant in making data-based decisions for the children and employees in our care,” he added. 

All COVID-related protocols are subject to change as directives are provided by governing authorities and or health officials or circumstances evolve.

“We will be sure to keep you informed on our district website, social media, and through all-calls/emails,” LISD said.

“I’m not an anti-masker, I’m not a person that advocates for mask mandates… I just strictly looked at exercising my duties here as superintendent to act in the best interest of my students and my staff,” said Wilcox.

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