WACO, Texas – With the delay of in-person classes in McLennan County until after Labor Day, the Waco Independent School District announced plans for the school year – including making masks mandatory for all students and staff.

Superintendent Dr. Susan Kincannon made the announcement over a town hall-style phone call with parents on Tuesday evening. They are the second school district in the area to take such measures after the Temple Independent School District announced they would last week.

“Our students and staff will be wearing masks. When they arrive at the campus each day, both students and staff will be screened for the symptoms of COVID-19 and will have their temperature taken,” Kincannon said. “As much as we can, we will try to maintain the appropriate space between students in classrooms, in hallways, and in other areas.”

The health precautions will be taken on the bus, too.

“We will be asking that our students wear masks on the buses,” Kincannon said. “We will have hand sanitizer on every bus, and then we’ll be evaluating the routes and the number of riders on those routes.”

The social distancing and mask guidelines weren’t the only concerns for parents. Some parents asked how schools will handle the emotional issues students have faced due to the pandemic.

“We’ll be working closely with our teachers on connecting with our students and their feelings to make sure that we bring them along and alleviate their worries and fears,” Kincannon said.

The changes in schools may even affect the sanctity of lunchtime.

“You will see that we will be spreading students out or they may possibly be eating in the classrooms,” Kincannon said. “We’re still working through the details of that.”

Waco ISD’s first day of school is scheduled for September 8.