Dallas School District Defies Governor With Mask Mandate

by Madison Vanderberg

Texas governor Greg Abbott forbade school districts from creating mask mandates, but one Dallas school district is doing what it needs to do to keep students safe

The CDC says that students, teachers, parents, and visitors at schools should wear masks to slow the spread of the virus. But in Texas, schools are forbidden from creating mask mandates that would keep their students and teachers safe, because ‘merica. However, one district in Dallas is defying the governor’s ban on mask mandates in the name of science and common sense.

Back in July, Texas Governor Greg Abbott made an executive order that says “no government entity, including a county, city, school district and public health authority” and “any public or private entity that is receiving or will receive public funds” can enforce a mask mandate or a vaccine mandate. Meaning, individuals can wear masks if they want, but schools can’t require them. If a school does choose to impose a mask mandate, they could face fines of up to $1,000.

As the Delta variant runs rampant, The Wall Street Journal reports that Texas hospitals are nearing capacity and the Governor himself has asked all hospitals to delay elective medical procedures during these trying times. And yet, Abbott is like “But I can’t make people wear masks.”

So, the Dallas Independent School District said on Monday that everyone who steps foot on campus must wear a mask. Governor Abbott’s orders be damned.

“The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Dallas County Health officials have raised the COVID-19 alert to level red and reported that hospitalizations are rising at the fastest rate since the pandemic began, among all age groups, including children,” a statement on the district’s website reads. “Students under 12 are not eligible for a vaccine, however, school attendance is mandatory, and virtual learning is not an option at this time…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.”

The mask mandate is temporary and will remain in place for as long as it is necessary.

Currently, a few entities have already or have plans in place, to defy the governor’s orders as well.

The New York Times reports that Houston Independent School District would put a similar mask mandate up for a vote before the board of education this week. The Texas Tribune states that Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner announced Monday that all city employees will be required to mask up inside city buildings where social distancing is not doable, such as bathrooms, elevators and conference rooms. However, that one feels extremely easy to abuse.

In related, Texas is chaotic news, the Texas Education Agency just put out new guidelines and now schools are no longer required to do contract tracing AND if a student tests positive for COVID-19, they don’t have to alert all parents, but only alert parents of students they believe to be a close contact.

Hopefully, more Texas school districts will follow Dallas’ lead and put mandates in place to protect vulnerable children from getting COVID-19.