Tomball ISD officials announced in a March 9 release the district will continue requiring students, staff and teachers to wear a face covering through May, noting that the district expects it will be able to begin the 2021-22 school year with normal operations.

However, while the face covering requirement will continue, masks will be optional during outdoor recess, the release said.

“With the end of the school year in sight, we cannot lose focus on the goal we set out at the beginning of the school year of keeping face-to-face instruction available for all families who choose,” officials said in the release. “We all desire a return to normalcy, but the safety of our students, teachers and staff remains the top priority in our school district.”

Gov. Greg Abbott announced March 2 that Texans will no longer be required by state law to wear a mask, and all businesses will be allowed to operate at full capacity as of March 10. In response, the Texas Education Agency released updated public health guidance March 3, stating that TEA officials are leaving mask policies up to individual school boards, Community Impact Newspaper previously reported.

The Magnolia ISD board of trustees voted unanimously March 8 to lift its face covering requirement for students and staff effective April 1 to allow teachers time to receive a COVID-19 vaccination if they choose.

The Texas Department of State Health Services announced March 3 that Texas educators and child care workers are now eligible to receive coronavirus vaccines.

“We understand there are strong feelings on both sides of the mask debate, yet we hope you will continue to support your schools and teachers and help us to finish out this year with the same grace, love and patience that has served us well during this pandemic,” TISD officials said in the release.