AUSTIN, Texas – Another major Texas public school district is joining the growing list of school districts that are directly defying an executive order from Gov. Greg Abbott.
Austin Independent School District announced Monday that masks will be required for all students, staff and visitors starting Wednesday.
Masks Work. Face Masks are Required at Austin ISD. pic.twitter.com/CI7spvchj7— Austin ISD (@AustinISD) August 10, 2021
This comes on the heels of Dallas Independent School District making a similar announcement that requires anyone on district property to wear a mask starting Tuesday.
The mask requirements are in direct opposition with Abbott’s July 29 order which states that governmental entities like schools can’t issue mask or vaccine mandates.
The City of San Antonio and Bexar County filed a lawsuit Tuesday challenging Abbott’s order. Officials plan to “immediately issue an order requiring masks in public schools and requiring quarantine if an unvaccinated student is determined to be in close contact with a COVID-19 positive individual,” according to a news release.
Major governing bodies like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, San Antonio’s Metro Health and the American Academy of Pediatrics have all recently advised people to wear masks indoors regardless of vaccine status.
Hank Bostwick, a lawyer and volunteer at the Southern Center for Child Advocacy, a nonprofit education group, filed a lawsuit Sunday in Travis County in an effort to give autonomy back to the school districts and let them decide if mask-wearing should be required.
The Texas State Teachers Association has also urged Abbott to give schools the power to require masks ahead of the 2021-2022 academic year.
TSTA officials issued a statement Monday urging other districts to join Dallas ISD “and ignore Gov. Abbott’s politically motivated order prohibiting mask mandates.”
Superintendent for Houston Independent School District, Millard House II, is planning to propose a mask mandate for HISD as well at the district’s board meeting on Thursday.
Socorro Independent School District near El Paso is also considering defying Abbott’s mask mandate, according to KVIA.
Mandating masks in schools has also been a polarizing topic in KSAT’s Classroom Confessionals series which details thoughts and opinions from parents and educators regarding the return to in-person learning for the upcoming school year.
San Antonio-area school districts have not yet taken any steps to defy Abbott’s mask order.