The Texas Supreme Court has temporarily blocked local mask mandates, siding with Gov. Greg Abbott after rulings last week upheld mask mandates in Dallas and San Antonio.
The Republican Texas governor recently spoke out against the forced requirement to wear masks amid the pandemic, arguing in favor of voluntary masking. The high court issued a stay order in the legal battle in Dallas and Bexar counties after a lower court ruled last week in favor of local officials. “Local mask mandates are illegal under GA-38,” the Office of the Texas Attorney General wrote on Twitter Sunday, adding, “Let this ruling serve as a reminder to all ISDs and Local officials that the Governor’s order stands.”
Dallas Independent School District, the largest in the state, defied the governor’s orders on Aug. 9, mandating that masks be worn by all students and staff in schools, regardless of vaccination status. The mask mandate will stand in schools throughout the district at this time, Dallas schools Superintendent Michael Hinojosa told local television station CBS DFW.
“Governor Abbott’s order does not limit the district’s rights as an employer and educational institution to establish reasonable and necessary safety rules for its staff and students,” a statement from Dallas Independent School District prior to the court ruling says. “Dallas ISD remains committed to the safety of our students and staff.”
The decision awaits a final ruling by the state Supreme Court, remaining temporary until then. Hearings for the San Antonio and Dallas school districts will proceed as scheduled. Abbott in a tweet reminded the public that “the ban doesn’t prohibit using masks” and “anyone who wants to wear a mask can do so, including in schools,” he said.
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: HOUSTON CHRONICLE
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