Following guidance from the Texas Education Agency, New Braunfels ISD will continue to require students and staff to wear face coverings while on campus and while participating in school activities.

The district released parent and staff surveys March 5 regarding Gov. Greg Abbott’s decision to end the mask mandate and received 1,553 parent responses and 871 employee responses.

Of the parents who responded, 70% preferred that the district’s mask policy be continued at least through the end of the school year, and 78% of employee respondents agreed with the sentiment.

“In both of these thought exchanges, most of the comments are saying leave [the policy] until the end of the school year,” Superintendent Randy Moczygemba said.

Regardless of a district’s mask policy, quarantine guidelines for students and staff members who come within 6 feet of someone who tests positive for COVID-19 for 15 minutes or more where one or both people were not properly masked will remain the same.

Mask policies have helped to reduce the number of student and staff quarantine periods during the school year, Moczygemba said, noting that students who have had to quarantine have struggled in their coursework more than students who remained in person or virtual the entire time.

“It’s just a huge disruption to both the teachers and the kids, and those kids are the ones that are struggling most,” Moczygemba said.

In response to some comments on the parent survey, the district also announced that playgrounds at elementary school campuses will reopen during recess after spring break, which is March 15-19.

Play areas will continue to be limited to one classroom at a time, and students will be required to wear masks while on playground equipment.