After two hours of emotional public testimony for and against implementing a mask mandate Tuesday evening, a pro-mask mandate motion failed to garner a second sponsor on the floor of the Killeen Independent School District boardroom.

KISD board member Brett Williams motioned for the board to implement a mask mandate in opposition to Gov. Greg Abbott’s mask mandate ban — as more than 50 school districts have done statewide.

Brett Williams

Killeen ISD board member Brett Williams.

“To quote Sam Houston, ‘Do right and risk the consequences,’” Williams said Tuesday.

Williams’ motion was not seconded by any one of the remaining six board members.

In the absence of a mask mandate, KISD Superintendent John Craft said he “strongly encourages” unvaccinated students and staff to wear face masks.

John Craft

Killeen ISD Superintendent John Craft

“I think those (unvaccinated) students and staff are the most vulnerable,” Craft said Tuesday evening.

The CDC recommends indoor masking for all individuals age 2 years and older, including students, teachers, staff, and visitors, regardless of vaccination status.

BACK TO SCHOOL

Rising school enrollment numbers, PPE availability, and public health guidance updates were also discussed Tuesday.

More than 41,000 students returned to KISD schools on Aug. 16, but Craft said that number quickly ballooned over the course of the district’s first week of the 2021-2022 school year.

“As of yesterday (Monday), we crossed the threshold of 43,000 students,” Craft said. “We’re currently on our way to 44,000.”

Between Monday and Tuesday, Craft said, the district gained about 750 additional students.

The district’s student enrollment count is projected to fall somewhere around 46,000 students this year.

Ellison and Harker Heights high schools are already full, according to the superintendent.

Addressing requests that the district create smaller class sizes and “spread out” students during the pandemic, Craft said “Well, we have to have the square footage to spread out to.”

“In many of our campuses, particularly our middle schools, we just don’t have the square footage,” he said.

Personal protective equipment, or PPE, and hand sanitizer are available for students and staff at every KISD campus, according to the superintendent. Previously, some KISD parents reported the district lacked PPE and hand sanitizer at area campuses during meet-the-teacher events prior to the start of school.

“We have plenty of PPE,” Craft said. “We have masks, we have gloves, we have face shields, we have enough hand sanitizer. We’ve got hand sanitizer that fills up half of the old Nolan gymnasium.”

The superintendent said campuses can submit PPE or sanitizer requests to Megan Bradley.

“If they need it, we’re trying to get it out as fast as we can,” he said. “I think there may be communication channels that are blocked for some reason, but PPE provisions should not be a problem whatsoever.”

At the request of two board members, the superintendent said he would create signage to highlight PPE and sanitizer availability.

Also Tuesday, the school board unanimously voted to approve the hiring of a Chief Medical Officer, a new position for the district.

A job posting for the district’s newest administrative position will be posted this week, KISD spokesperson Taina Maya said Wednesday.

ldodd@kdhnews.com | 254-501-7567

(10) comments

September shai

Instead of giving John craft a $10,000 raise they should have fired him. There is not enough diversity Within kisd. He only looks out for some people. Get him out of there!! It will be nice when everyone stops making covid a political illness! Parents need to keep their kids home when they are sick. Runny nose coughing fever schools need to start sending these kids back home!!

Noneofyourbiz

Wow those pro mask people are just so full of hate.

Why are democrats so hateful and nasty.

The hate in the democrat party is why I walked away #walkaway from the democrats.

The democrats numbers are dropping so fast, because of the hate and division they are sowing.

Take responsibility for yourself, my body my choice.

I choose freedom nit socialism

Love Our Planet

Did anyone catch the guy at the beginning carrying on about not having children wear masks because, among other things, that high school kid needs to see if his crush is smiling back at him? Apparently, it is psychologically damaging to not know if your crush is smiling at you. It is also psychologically damaging to not be able to see people's mouths while they speak. Yeah, I'm going to need to consult with my therapist friends.

Hopefully, no kids die trying to smile at their crushes! 😒

Noneofyourbiz

Kisd has already been warned about not being in compliance, and they fixed the problem. It is in the attorney generals webpage. Government entities cannot mandate mask or vaccines, this includes local government, city boards and commission along with schools.

Kisd should not use tax payer dollars to discriminate against non vaccinated teachers when it comes to the 10 day extra leave. If tax payers are funding a entity a entity can not discriminate based on any reason.

The democrats knew going into that school board meeting that governor Abbott was going to re issues his order today. This was a political stunt by the democrats to gain votes for Bret Williams, you could tell by the live comments during the live Facebook airing of the meeting.

Also the local democrats Facebook page also talked about it.

This is the type of disgusting political underhanded tactics used by the democrats. The used the children of kisd for political gain and manipulation of votes. Kisd students are not political pawns and it shows that Bret Williams is more concerned about his political career than the kisd students, and our tax dollars.

I will not vote for him again, I have lost faith in where his heart is. He let the students down by political grand standing and allowing the democrats to use the kids students as a political pawns.

Take responsibility for yourself and your family, only a feeble minded person needs someone else to tell them how to take care of themselves.

Btw, the lady with her spray bottle, I had to go to the er, water in an old hairspray bottle is contaminated and can cause bacterial infections. You have no business around children. if any parent has had a child in that women's class you need to talk to your kids and ask questions.

Love Our Planet

So, the one person who stood up for protecting our children is using our children for political gain? The rest of the quiet ones who preferred to let a non-medical professional who has no business making choices for our children based on his desire to pander to a particular political party instead of following what basically all of the medical professionals recommend are the ones in the right? Ok! 🤨😒 I'd question if you realized how absurd your statement is, but it's pointless.

Love Our Planet

Also, was it not Brett Williams who said we should not discriminate against the vaccinated and unvaccinated employees and staff when it comes to leave? If you remember, he mentioned something asking the lines of employees without leave would come to school sick and that would largely be the unvaccinated members of KISD. Susan Jones doesn't care for the idea of 10 leave days at all and Marvin Rainwater got loud and put her firmly in her place. The vote for tabling the idea until the changes were made passed.

overseer

This move was a good move by the School Board and Superintendent. They must now move away from their DISCRIMINATORY agenda of only promoting COVID leave days to those who are vaccinated. They forget, the teachers who manned the classrooms and wore their masks faithfully last year, are the same teachers who support their decisions not to violate the Governor's order; yet, are still wearing their masks, are the ones they are leaving in the "ditch". KISD is participating in creating a "mass grave" situation in which they are going to force unvaccinated individuals, even those who may have conditions that prevent them from getting the vaccine, from staying home because they will not be able to afford to. If the board proceeds with this plan, I for one, will vote against all who support it in their next election.

MimiBiggs

Glad this school board stood up for following the law and protecting our children against the tyranny and fear campaign surrounding Covid.

ifuknowuknow

Hope you enjoy watching your kids struggle to breath on a vent... wait... there's no more ICU beds left. They just won't be breathing at all then will they. Freedom!

Love Our Planet

People seem to forget this particular detail when it comes to their freedoms. Admittedly, I've never been in a casket or buried or cremated, but I cannot imagine there being a lot of freedom in that situation! But, hey, who am I to want to protect the health of these children and until the pandemic is behind us, who cares about their parents' ridiculous need for freedom of masks...which is not a Constitutional right, btw.

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