HOUSTON – The Chickasaw County School District, which consists of Houston and Houlka schools, will continue wearing masks while indoors at least through Oct. 8.

The announcement was made by Superintendent John Ellison on Thursday.

“Masks will continue to be required for all students and staff while indoors or on school buses through Oct. 8,” he said in the announcement over the district's social media platforms. “The need for masks will continue to be evaluated each week based on current data from within our schools.”

The school board decided at their last meeting, to let the data drive the decision, not a set date.

Meaning if the case numbers climb, then masks will continue to be required, however, if they dwindle down to a comfortable number, and an outbreak situation doesn't seem likely, then they will consider removing the masks.

They just stressed that they did not want to rush into anything and the students and staff pay for it.

“I am all for [not requiring masks] as soon as possible,” said Ellison during the meeting. “My biggest concern right now is that we just came off of eight days of virtual here and I don't want to stick us right back in virtual after missing that much in-person instruction.”

Ellison said that they are carefully watching the numbers and letting them guide the decision.

“We are looking at it every two weeks. I talk to the nurses everyday, and we track the numbers every day, but as far as making that decision we are looking at two week increments.”

Board President Thomas Howell weighed in with his thoughts as well.

“How many students we have with it should drive whatever date we use,” he said. “The conditions set when we take it off, but that's just my thought.”

Ellison also thanked the parents of the district for their patience as they do their best to make decisions that they feel are the best for the students and faculty in the district.

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