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.
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.
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