Despite Supreme Court ruling, Texas schools continue mask requirements

by | Aug 16, 2021 | Coronavirus, Policy

On Sunday night, the entirely Republican Texas Supreme Court issued a stay against any lower court opinions which blocked Greg Abbott’s mask mandate ban. The emergency stay is temporary and will be heard again with a final ruling, though there’s no indication when that will come.

The emergency stay from Texas Supreme Court currently reaffirms Abbott’s initial executive order, also known as GA-38, which prohibited any local leader or ISD from instituting safety and health measures. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton celebrated the ruling on Twitter. “Local mask mandates are illegal under GA-38,” he wrote. “Let this ruling serve as a reminder to all ISDs and local officials that the Governor’s order stands.”

Right after the Supreme Court ruling, Dallas Independent School District superintendent Michael Hinojosa held a press conference saying he was keeping the mask mandate in place. Hinojosa noted that the ruling applied to counties, and not school districts. “We have to protect the health and safety of our students,” he said.

Hinojosa’s decision also arrived on the day before a large number of Dallas public schools reopened. According to Hinojosa, a smaller number of public schools reopened the day after the initial mask mandate on August 10 and they received no challenges regarding masks on campus. At his press conference Sunday night, Hinojosa said students who do not comply with the mask mandate will be directed to a separate classroom at their school.

A number of other ISDs around Texas were also keeping their mask requirements including Austin, and San Antonio.

As several school districts reaffirm their mask requirements, COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to accelerate throughout the state. Several regions in Texas are currently without any ICU beds.  

Jena Ardell/Getty Images

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A longtime writer and journalist, Jessica was thrilled to join the Texas Signal where she could utilize her unique perspective on politics and culture. As the Features and Opinion Editor, she is responsible for coordinating editorials and segments from diverse authors. She is also the host of the podcast the Tex Mix, as well as the co-host for the weekly SignalCast. Jessica attended Harvard College, is a onetime fitness blogger, and has now transitioned to recreational runner (for which her joints are thankful).

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