Magnolia ISD released updates to face-covering requirements and its COVID-19 testing protocol in a Nov. 16 letter from Superintendent Todd Stephens, including all elementary students being required to wear a face mask at school and on the bus.

With flu season approaching, the district has updated its policies to require all students and staff to wear face masks—cloth face coverings that fit snugly around the nose and mouth—as other coverings such as face shields will no longer be considered appropriate for students and staff to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus. Previously, face coverings were not mandated for students until the secondary level, Community Impact Newspaper reported.

Secondly, Magnolia ISD has deemed PCR testing as the most appropriate method of diagnostic testing for COVID-19 among students and staff and will no longer accept results from rapid tests. To confirm cases of COVID-19, students and staff must provide PCR test results, as antigen, or rapid tests, have a high probability of inaccurate results, according to the district.

“It is important to emphasize how critical it is to wear face masks that cover the nose and mouth, practice social distancing, and wash your hands whenever you interact with others,” Stephens said. “This is to help stop the spread of COVID-19 and reduce the number of students who may be exposed and have to quarantine for 14 days."