The Texas Supreme Court on Thursday overturned a mask rule in San Antonio’s school districts, the latest municipal regulation to be overturned in the state as discussions continue over how to keep children and educators secure while returning to in-person instruction.
Governor Greg Abbott and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton have both spoken out against mask requirements in their state, despite the fact that some counties have failed to overturn the governor’s May 18 executive order prohibiting mask demands in school districts and other places. Following the court’s decision, Paxton tweeted a warning that masks are not required in Texas public schools, reiterating prior threats to sue any school districts or companies that disobey the order.
Paxton tweeted that “If your kids’ public schools are still requiring masks, email [email protected] They are wasting your tax dollars dragging everyone into litigation!”
The failure of San Antonio to successfully oppose the presidential order in court is the latest in a run of setbacks for counties opposing the directive. The governor’s directive was challenged in court earlier this month, but the Texas Supreme Court stopped both counties from requiring masks.
The governor’s decision against mask demands prompted schools to come up with inventive ways to circumvent the governor’s directive, such as the Paris Independent School District, which accepted masks as part of its uniform policy on Aug. 17, 2021. Other school districts, including one in Dallas, have simply defied Abbott’s instruction, implementing a mask rule on Aug. 9 despite the legal ramifications.
According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, the state had over 270,000 active COVID-19 cases as of Aug. 26. According to the state’s Health and Human Services Commission, over 67 percent of Texas citizens have received their first dose of vaccination, and over 56 percent have been fully vaccinated.