Texas’ largest public school district is holding a board meeting next week to discuss a possible mask warrant and COVID-19 protocols.
Houston Independent School District Superintendent Millard House II said the board would meet on Thursday to discuss the mandate, which would require all students, faculty and staff to wear masks on campus, according to a KPRC report. or on a school bus.
KPRC said if the warrant is approved, it would go against Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order preventing local governments and schools from imposing face coverings and fining up to $ 1,000. for those who do not comply.
The Houston ISD announcement comes after House initially said he would not challenge Abbott’s order, KPRC reported. The superintendent told KPRC he is now concerned about the increase in COVID-19 cases in Harris County.
“The health and safety of our students and staff continues to be our compass in all of our decisions,” said House. “As a result, during tonight’s agenda review meeting, I announced that I will be proposing a mask mandate for students, staff, and visitors to all schools, buses and facilities. which will be voted on next week by the Board of Education. The rate of COVID-19 cases is increasing in our communities and Harris County is now at threat red. “
According to KPRC, the announcement also comes after the Texas Education Agency released new COVID-19 safety guidelines and protocols for the 2021-2022 school year.
In guidelines released Thursday, the TEA reaffirmed Abbott’s decree that masks cannot be required in classrooms and adding that contact tracing is not required if positive cases of COVID-19 are confirmed in schools.
Similar disputes over mask warrants are occurring in other states, including Arkansas and Florida.
In Arkansas, the mayor of Little Rock, Frank Scott, Jr., has reimposed a mask warrant in all public places in the city.
According to a KARK report, Scott made the announcement Thursday, going against a state law that prohibits Arkansas city governments from issuing mask warrants. The warrant requires people on city property or in city-owned building to wear face coverings.
In light of Mayor Scott’s tenure, two Arkansas parents are suing the state in an attempt to overturn the law prohibiting schools and other governments from requiring face masks.
According to KARK, one of the parents has two children under the age of 12 who cannot be vaccinated. She wants an extra layer of protection for her children when they return to class, KARK reported.
In Florida, the fight for mask requirements continued this week, with the Broward County School District saying its face coverage policy would remain in place.
The Broward County School Board issued a warrant last week asking students, teachers and staff, including those who are vaccinated, to wear masks in schools when in-person learning resumes on August 18.
Shortly after, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed an executive order banning school districts from imposing masks, threatening to cut funding to districts that don’t comply.
Broward Schools issued a statement on Monday saying they would comply with DeSantis’ order, but Wednesday’s statement made their position unclear.
The district said masks are still required in schools and facilities. District officials said they were awaiting more information before making a decision on mask requirements in the 2021-2022 school year.
The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended that all students and teachers wear face coverings in school during the next school year.