Dallas, Fort Worth ISD parents mull decision to send students with masks after mandate ends

This week marked the start of optional masking at schools in Texas.

While most North Texas schools are already done, some — like Dallas and Fort Worth ISD — are still going.

As this chaotic year comes to a close, masks in school are still causing some confusion among parents with no universal rule. 

Dallas parent Lisa Lopez has kept her son, Marcos, home and will continue to stay home. The middle schooler has been virtual the entire year.

"We felt very uncomfortable with sending him in the middle of a pandemic," she said.

It’s a firm decision that Lopez says she’s thankful she never swayed from, especially now. 

In the final two weeks of school at Dallas ISD, the mask mandate is gone after Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order. 

Starting this week, no one on campus is forced to wear a mask despite the CDC’s recommendation to finish the year with masks.

It’s a change some parents at Lakewood Elementary are already taking advantage of.

"I am all for it being optional," said parent Christie McKeeby. "I think that we prefer not to wear them at this point." 

But Racquel Theus says her nephew will stay masked up. 

"Makes me a little nervous for sure," she said.

Fort Worth ISD says it’s also complying with the governor’s order. The district's last day of school is set for June 18. 

Both Fort Worth and Dallas ISD encourage everyone to wear a mask but also realize the choice is there. 

"I think the kids are tired of wearing them and want to see each other’s faces at this point," McKeeby said.

As of the end of last week in Dallas ISD, 60% of the student body remains in person and 40% virtual. A spokesperson says the numbers could fluctuate with parents feeling uncomfortable, like Lopez's family. 

"Why would a parent send them to school without protection," Lopez said. "I don’t understand that."

According to Dallas ISD, a parent can pull their child out of in-person learning at any time in the last two weeks. 

The CDC has already said it will release new guidance for schools for the fall once this school year comes to an end.