Fort Worth ISD will require masks on campuses this school year, Superintendent Kent Scribner said in a surprise announcement at a school board meeting Tuesday night.
Masks will be required for indoor school facilities and buses, Scribner said.
The first day of school in the district is Monday.
The district follows other large school systems in the state, including Dallas ISD, in making similar decisions regarding face coverings in defiance of an executive order issued last month by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott prohibiting mask mandates.
Scribner cited a letter he received from more than 100 pediatricians pleading for a mask mandate to keep children safe.
"The safety of students faculty and staff has and always will be our priority," Scribner said.
Also at the board meeting, many parents spoke up for a mask mandate or an option for virtual learning.
"You can stop the nightmare,” one father said. “You can answer the prayer for safety. Your plan is optional masking which is ineffective."