By Erin Jones

FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – When Fort Worth ISD students return to school next week, a mask mandate will be in place in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19.

The school district made that announcement on Thursday, Sept. 9.

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For Hayden Barrera, wearing a mask at school has become second nature.

However, the Meacham Middle School 6th grader says a lot of her peers don’t feel the same way.

“I honestly think a lot of people don’t really see the consequences if you don’t wear it and they just don’t really care,” she said. “Now, it’s not really a choice anymore.”

Starting Monday, Sept. 13, masks will be required for all Fort Worth ISD staff, students, parents and visitors at all indoor facilities, unless they have a medical exemption. At outdoor events, like football games, they’ll be optional.

“I see it as a pro and con,” student Bryanna Marie Garcia said. “I understand why they have it because they don’t want to shut down the school, so I’m all for these opportunities before shutting down the school.”

“Now, wearing it the whole day for eight hours, like my wife said it’s kind of hard to breathe,”parent Edgar Quintana said.

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The decision comes after trustees voted to implement a mask mandate last month.

But at the August 26 school board meeting, Superintendent Kent Scribner said one thing needed to happen first.

“We will implement a mask requirement with appropriate medical exceptions if, when, and to the extent doing so does not violate the court order,” he said.

Scribner is referencing a group of parents who filed a lawsuit against the district over its initial mask mandate, winning a temporary injunction.

School district attorneys appealed this decision and now the Second Court of Appeals has sided with them, allowing the district to implement a masks mandate while the case waits to go to trial.

“I think it’s unfortunate that we had to go through all that back-and-forth right as school was starting, but I am glad that now they’re being required,” parent Claudia Palacios said.

“Hopefully the mask thing will help the COVID cases decrease as well,” student Justin Garcia said.

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Scribner said moving forward he’ll continue review the necessity of a mask mandate on a monthly basis by looking at CDC guidelines, local health data and hospital capacity to see if any changes need to be made.

Erin Jones