TYLER, Texas (KETK) – Chapel Hill ISD has seen its number of positive COVID cases “drop significantly” and the district is crediting the mask mandate implemented nearly one month ago.

“The school board approved the temporary mask mandate on August 30th, and it took effect August the 31st,” said Belen Casillas, Chapel Hill ISD Director of Communications.

The district peaked with 117 positive cases on Sept. 2 among the more than 3,400 students and nearly 600 staff members.

Since then, the district has seen a steep drop in cases and currently just has 19 active cases, an 84% drop in less than three weeks.

“Thank you to the School Board, parents, and students for helping us reduce the spread and exposure of the virus COVID-19 at our campuses. We also ask that everyone do their part by staying home if you are feeling sick.”

Chapel Hill ISD Superintendent Lamond Dean
Graph: Chapel Hill ISD

The district reports their COVID-19 cases to the Texas Education Agency and the Texas Department of State Health Services.

Everyday, school nurses from each campus inform the district on the number of positive cases, the number of positive cases in isolation and the number of students and staff in quarantine.

Since COVID-19 cases have decreased for Chapel Hill ISD, some staff have reacted positively to the implementation of the mask mandate.

“We are thankful for the school board for approving the temporary mask mandate. It’s still in effect and will be until it’s approved otherwise,” said Casillas.

Mask mandates in school districts has been a hot-button issue throughout Texas. Attorney General Ken Paxton has threatened lawsuits against districts that implement them.

Paxton has sent a letter to Chapel Hill ISD stating they are not in compliance with Gov. Abbott’s executive order that bans such mandates, but has not filed a lawsuit. However, the following school districts in East Texas have had litigation filed against them:

  • Diboll ISD
  • Longview ISD
  • Lufkin ISD

Tyler ISD’s board earlier this week voted against a mask mandate for East Texas’ largest school district with many parents speaking out against the proposal.