Story at a glance
- A Texas school district is pushing back on Gov. Greg Abbott’s mask mandate ban by making face masks a part of its dress code.
- The Paris Independent School District approved the amendment 5-1 on Tuesday.
- “The Board believes the dress code can be used to mitigate communicable health issues, and therefore has amended the PISD dress code to protect our students and employees,” the district said.
A Texas school district is circumventing Gov. Greg Abbott’s (R) mask mandate ban by making masks part of its dress code.
The Texas governor, who tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday, has issued a series of warnings and executive actions in recent weeks threatening legal action against government entities who defy his ban and require masks.
“The path forward relies on personal responsibility—not government mandates,” the governor said in a statement announcing the ban. “The State of Texas will continue to vigorously fight the temporary restraining order to protect the rights and freedoms of all Texans.”
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But the Paris Independent School District found a way around the governor’s measure, amending its dress code to read: “For health reasons, masks are required for all employees and students to mitigate flu, cold, pandemic, and any other communicable diseases," The Paris News reported.
“The Board believes the dress code can be used to mitigate communicable health issues, and therefore has amended the PISD dress code to protect our students and employees,” according to a statement from the district.
“The Texas Governor does not have the authority to usurp the Board of Trustees’ exclusive power and duty to govern and oversee the management of the public schools of the district,” the statement continued.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommending universal mask wearing in K-12 school settings and in crowded public spaces. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) reported more than 121,000 COVID-19 cases in children in the week ending Aug. 12, representing 18 percent of all new cases.
The Paris News reported the updated dress code, which passed by a 5-1 vote Tuesday, is not permanent and will be reevaluated on a monthly basis.
Abbott’s mask mandate prohibition is embroiled in a series of legal battles, but the state supreme court temporarily upheld the ban on Sunday, The New York Times reported.
Texas reported more than 28,000 new cases and 99 deaths in the past day, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The Lonestar state has fully vaccinated 46.6 percent of its residents.
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