Judge Jenkins Executive Order Requires Face Masks In Dallas County Public Schools
Judge Jenkins says at the moment the “enemy is winning”, referring to the rapid spread of COVID. As COVID-19 has continued to mutate, the Delta variant poses a greater health risk to the public due to how transmissible it is, placing a strain on our healthcare system. Today Jenkins signed an Executive Order that goes into effect at 11:59 today, and continuing until rescinded by Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins.
Judge Jenkins said, “We are in a war, not with each other, but with a virus.” He continued to say, “We all need to do our part.”
During Judge Jenkins’ press conference, Melissa Griffith, one of twelve parents that filed a lawsuit advocating for a mask requirement in schools shared her reason for participating in the suit. Griffith’s daughter is medically fragile but thrives in class, however she wasn’t a good fit for virtual learning. She needs the social interaction and student/teacher interaction. Griffith says it’s clear from last year that masks work.
Health and Safety Policy – Pre-K Through 12 Public Schools and Child Care Centers
All child care centers and Pre-K through 12 Public Schools operating in Dallas County must develop and implement a health and safety policy (“Health and Safety Policy”). The Health and Safety Policy must require, at a minimum, universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to child care centers and pre-K through 12 schools, regardless of vaccination status, except for children under 2 years of age. The Health and Safety Policy required to be developed and implemented by this Executive Order may also include the implementation of other mitigating measures recommended by the CDC to control and reduce the transmission of COVID-19, such as maintaining at least 3 feet of physical distance between students within classrooms.
Health and Safety Policy – Commercial Entities
All commercial entities in Dallas County providing goods or services directly to
the public must develop and implement a health and safety policy (“Health and Safety
Policy”). The Health and Safety Policy must require, at a minimum, universal indoor
masking for all employees and visitors to the commercial entity’s business premises or
other facilities. The Health and Safety Policy required to be developed and implemented
by this Executive Order may also include the implementation of other mitigating
measures designed to control and reduce the transmission of COVID-19 such as
temperature checks or health screenings. Commercial entities must post the Health and
Safety Policy required by this Executive Order in a conspicuous location sufficient to
provide notice to employees and visitors of all health and safety requirements. Failure
to develop and implement the Health and Safety Policy required by this Executive Order
within three (3) calendar days following the Effective Date may result in a fine not to
exceed $1,000 for each violation. Any peace officer or other person with lawful authority
is hereby authorized to enforce the provisions of this Order in accordance with the
authority granted under the Texas Disaster Act of 1975.
From the date of this Executive Order, all employees, contractors, and visitors when on the premises of a building or offices owned or operated by Dallas County are required to wear a face mask, regardless of vaccination status.
Face Coverings Strongly Urged – General Public
It is strongly urged that all people 2 years or older wear a face mask when in a public indoor space. No civil or criminal penalty will be imposed on individuals for failure to wear a face mask.
Please note that face coverings are a secondary strategy to other mitigation efforts. Face
coverings are not a replacement for social distancing, frequent handwashing, and
self-isolation when sick. All people should follow CDC recommendations for how to
wear and take off a face mask. Residents should keep up the following habits while in
- washing hands before you leave home and when you return,
- staying at least six feet away from others,
- avoiding touching nose or face,
- not using disposable masks more than three times, and
- washing reusable cloth masks regularly to prevent the spread of the virus.
It is expected that Governor Abbott will appeal the temporary restraining order which allowed Judge Jenkins to sign this Executive Order. The next hearing would be on August 24, unless there’s a relief granted before that date.
Best Southwest School Districts issued this statement following the news of the EO from Judge Jenkins
“As members of the Best Southwest School Districts, we support Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins’ emergency order requiring masks for public schools, based on the Texas Disaster Act. Although we are four independent school districts, our families and communities regularly engage and interact with one another. One community’s health and well-being are interdependent with the neighboring communities. We believe this emergency order aligns with our efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 within our districts and close-knit communities.”
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