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Parents Pressure Garland ISD As Other Districts Adopt Mask Mandates, Virtual Options

GARLAND (CBSDFW.COM) - Already in its second week of school, Garland ISD announced it will begin requiring masks in response to Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins' latest executive order.

The district has faced pressure from some parents as other districts have opted to challenge limits placed by the state on the precautions.

The number of active COVID cases has climbed since the start of school, topping 350 as of Wednesday.

At a meeting Tuesday night, trustees listened as letters from 50 parents were read aloud, expressing strong opinions both in favor of and opposed to precautions being taken by other districts.

"I'm writing to voice my opposition to the mask mandate you may be considering," began one letter.

Britney Quick, though, wrote in support of tougher measures against spread of the virus.

The Garland native is her grandmother's primary caretaker and mother to two Garland ISD students.

"I'm furious to put it mildly," she said.

Her grandmother's health is fragile, and her husband is diabetic.

So, while she and the boys are healthy, they take care not to bring the virus home.

"We will likely survive it," she said, "but there are two people in our house hold that may not."

The district, she feels, isn't taking that seriously enough.

"There are a lot of complexities out there, and going into this, there are no easy answers," said Superintendent Dr Ricardo Lopez during Tuesday's meeting.

Garland ISD was one of the first districts to return to school. Unlike last year, there's no virtual learning option due in part to a lack of action by the legislature.

"We have diligently done our part for 522 days," said Quick.

She wants to see remote learning options offered, a mask mandate in effect and other precautions – like plexiglass dividers – return.  They're measures, she says, that would benefit the most vulnerable in the community.

"Our chronically ill children deserve to have the exact same education as the healthy ones," she said.

As it is, she says, too many families are having to choose between their children's education and their family's health.

"That is not a fair situation to put any parent or child into," she said.

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