Some students and school staff in two of Texas’ biggest counties are required to wear masks to school on Monday despite the newest roadblock by the state’s Supreme Court.
Officials in Dallas and Bexar counties declared on Sunday that school mask mandates were still in effect even after the state Supreme Court temporarily blocked the measures at Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s (R) request earlier that day.
“We are going to have the mask mandate tomorrow,” Dallas Independent School District Superintendent Michael Hinojosa said, per CNN. “We’re going to be benevolent; we’re going to be nice, but we’re going to be firm and we’re going to enforce it.”
However, local news outlet Fox 4 reports that other school districts in Dallas County will not have mask mandates.
San Antonio City Attorney Andy Segovia in Bexar County said that the mandate “remains in effect” and that the county’s response to the Supreme Court’s decision “continues to emphasize that the Governor cannot use his emergency powers to suspend laws that provide local entities the needed flexibility to act in an emergency.”
The Texas Supreme Court, which consists of all GOP judges, granted stay orders on the mask mandates in the two counties on Sunday. However, the court allowed a temporary injunction hearing in Dallas County scheduled for August 24 to move forward.
Abbott has been fighting tooth and nail to ban local authorities from implementing mask mandates even as COVID-19 cases explode throughout his state due to the delta variant – a fact the governor clearly acknowledged when he sought out-of-state medical assistance to help overwhelmed Texas hospitals handle the caseloads.
Abbott tried to defend his ban on Sunday after the Supreme Court issued the orders, tweeting that the ban “doesn’t prohibit using masks. Anyone who wants to wear a mask can do so, including in schools.”