SISD to consider mask mandate, suing Abbott over ban
EL PASO, Texas — The Socorro Independent School District’s Board of Trustees, at its meeting scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, was set to consider implementation of a face mask requirement for students and teachers as well as consider whether to join legal action against Texas Gov. Greg Abbott over his executive order limiting the ability of local schools to issue Covid-19 face mask mandates.
The SISD meeting comes as the El Paso Independent School District’s board was holding a similar meeting.
The discussions from both school districts were happening 24 hours after El Paso City/County Health Authority Dr. Hector Ocaranza defied the governor and issued a directive set to take effect Wednesday morning requiring that face coverings be worn at all indoor establishments, including schools. That mandate came following a request for it by County Judge Ricardo Samaniego.
The EPISD meeting also comes after El Paso City Council, in a move supporting Ocaranza, voted Monday night to file a lawsuit against Abbott. The city’s legal position is that state law allows the Health Authority to impose emergency health mandates – and the governor can’t override it with an executive order.
Numerous school districts and a handful of counties across the state have defied Abbott’s order that restricted local entities from instituting mask mandates. Multiple lawsuits are currently pending over the issue; in one of those cases, the Texas Supreme Court temporarily upheld Abbott’s order. Meantime, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, in a statement Monday night, vowed to defend the governor’s order against additional legal challenges.
Abbott, a staunch mask opponent, was diagnosed Tuesday with a breakthrough case of Covid-19, meaning he tested positive despite having been vaccinated. Abbott testing positive for the virus came after he gave a speech to a gathering of hundreds this week in which there was reportedly little or mask wearing and social distancing.
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