Celina ISD will continue to require face coverings for staff and students in seventh through 12th grades.

However, face coverings will be optional in pre-Kindergarten through sixth grade classrooms at teacher or campus administration direction, the district announced. In addition, sixth grade students must wear face coverings while participating in classes at the seventh-eighth grade campus.

Pre-kindergarten through sixth-grade students and staff must still wear face coverings during arrival, hallway transitions and dismissal, and all students must still wear face coverings on district transportation.

All other current protocols remain in place, including face covering requirements in all other facilities.

“We will continue to monitor the health of our community, the input from staff, students and our families and the ability of all staff to receive a COVID vaccine if they wish to do so,” District Superintendent Tom Maglisceau said in a Monday letter to the community. “We will provide our staff and families with any new information as we move forward.”

The updated guidelines come after a Monday School Board meeting wherein trustees considered information, including parent and teacher surveys, regarding face covering requirements in schools.

“We wanted to hear from the teachers because, of course, they're really on the front lines, and they're at the highest risk,” John Mathews, assistant superintendent of administrative services, said in a March 5 interview.

But the district also wanted input from the community, he said.

A four-question parent survey, posted on the district website, included yes or no questions about whether face coverings should be required for elementary, middle and high school students in the district.

“Would you support a teacher requiring face coverings in his or her classroom due to a concern for his or her personal safety?” the final question asked.

Mathews also said the district was trying to do what is in the best interests of the community, students and staff.

“I know we're all really tired of masks and such, but we still have some health concerns out there, and we're trying to make the best decision possible for everyone involved,” he said.

The updated policies are a shift from the district’s original rules, which included requiring face coverings for all adults and all fourth-12th grade students while on campus.

The original policies also encouraged students in pre-Kindergarten through third grade to wear a face covering in class and stated that any pre-kindergarten through third-grade teacher could require that their students wear face coverings if health conditions called for it and if the district decided it was appropriate.

Exceptions could be made, pending campus administration approval, for those with medical conditions or disabilities that prevented wearing a face covering.

“We value the feedback we have received from all members of our community, and there remain many different perspectives, each with valid concerns,” Maglisceau said in his Monday letter. “Thank you for your patience and support as we work to serve all perspectives.”

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