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Newswest 9 | Midland, Texas | newswest9.com

Why Big Spring ISD decided to drop mask mandate

The superintendent said the district hasn't had any positive COVID-19 cases among students in the past 3 weeks.

BIG SPRING, Texas — To mask or not to mask.

This is the new option students and staff at Big Spring ISD have.

"I feel like it's safe right now to do it, but at the same time I feel like it's not the right time to do it," Benjamin Robertson, junior, said.

Students say that a majority of their classmates were still wearing masks today.

"There's like a couple who didn't, that's fine, you don't have to now but I do think that we should be wearing masks," John Maniyali, freshman, said.

Other students feel the opposite.

"I didn't really like it because it's hard to breathe," Andrea Dehoyos, freshman, said.

The superintendent of schools said this decision was, in part, a consensus on what administrators and teachers wanted, as well as looking at the numbers.

"For the last three weeks we've had no positive cases of students, we've only had one case currently of a staff member who will soon be coming back," Jay McWilliams, superintendent, said. "Since January our cases have been down to less than 1%. We went through a rough patch in October and November, but things have started turning, just like they're turning in the state."

He said this decision was not spur of the moment.

Superintendent McWilliams said he also reserves the right to reinstate the mask mandate if case numbers start to rise again.

There's no specific threshold, but he's on a call every Tuesday with Howard County getting updates if he needs to make that mask change immediately.

"Let's all band together, continue doing what we think is right for our kids, because that's our number one priority," McWilliams said.

Big Spring ISD isn't the first school to do something like this. Wink-Loving ISD dropped their mask mandate March 10, 2021 and Andrews ISD is dropping their mask mandate when students come back from spring break on March 15, 2021.