Texarkana Arkansas School Board votes to keep its schools under mask mandate for at least another month



TEXARKANA, Ark. – The school board approved the administration’s recommendation to continue to require face coverings for students, faculty, staff and visitors indoors on campus.

These district efforts are designed to follow the guidelines of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

TASD will re-evaluate their mask guidelines monthly, but Superintendent Dr. Becky Kesler said this is the right step to take to ensure the safety of students and staff.

“At this point, we recommend wearing the masks for at least another month, as we expect a downward trend in positive cases,” said Kesler. “It’s just so terrifying when we see such high numbers of students because we’re talking from kindergarten to high school here, and the Delta variant hits this age so hard.

“We know that wearing a mask is not popular and nobody prefers wearing masks. But we would definitely prefer to keep our students and staff healthy.”

TASD stands at a total of 106 positive COVID cases from students and 17 from staff for the year as of Tuesday. This is a sharp increase in student cases at this point in the school year compared to this point in the last school year.

However, Kesler said quarantine numbers were lower this year and the majority of quarantines were caused by sources of infection outside of school.

In other news from the meeting, the board approved an increase in adult meal prices. Adult lunch prices are increased by 35 cents and adult breakfast prices are increased by 25 cents, bringing the grand total to $ 4 and $ 2.75, respectively.

The board also approved the purchase of Kids Discover Science magazine for $ 97,131, with funding from the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Fund and Title 4 funds. Kids Discover Science Magazines provides digital and print magazines for K-5 students in the classroom and in their home library.

The district’s annual budget for 2021-2022 was approved during the meeting.

The total operating budget for 2021-2022 is $ 34,941,384. Last year the total operating budget was $ 33,327,666. Actual expenses for the last year were $ 34,299,545.



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