The Keller ISD Board of Trustees announced in a meeting March 29 that COVID-19 restrictions for the district will be reduced beginning March 31.

Among the changes in district COVID-19 protocols will be a reduced quarantine time for students from 14 days to eight days with a negative test result; a quarantine exemption for fully vaccinated individuals; and open playgrounds on all campuses with outdoor play structures.

Face masks will be optional for students while on playgrounds, but guidelines for hand hygiene and consistent cohorting or grouping to minimize interactions remain in place. Other district guidelines for face mask requirements, daily self-screenings, bus protocols and a recommended six feet for social distancing also remain in effect.

"No one wants to start the school year in August this way," KISD Superintendent Rick Westfall told the board. "This is our way of getting through these next 40 days by making adjustments."

Westfall also noted that based on current district metrics, additional protocols could be relaxed as early as April 5.

The current rate of COVID-19 transmission in the district is at 0.88, and the COVID-19 case rate per 100,000 students is 86.8. Further protocols will be reduced if the transmission rate stays below 1 and the case rate below 100, Westfall said.

Should both metrics remain below those thresholds, the district will begin allowing parent drop-off of items at school and will remove any requirement to quarantine. Face mask protocols would remain in place "as a mitigating factor for quarantining," officials said.

"[Those] protocols would go into effect next week and would end quarantining as long as face masks are worn," Westfall said. "Those are the shifts we're making, and we're going to continue thinking about how to open up."