The face-to-face conflict between Texas school districts and the state government changed this week when the Texas Education Agency (TEA) stated that it would not enforce Governor Greg Abbott (R) ’s ban on warrants. school masks amid ongoing court cases.
The move comes amid a fierce battle against masked warrants in public places and while Texas sees the highest number of COVID-19 cases since the winter, overwhelming hospitals and infecting even fully vaccinated people, including Abbott.
The week was a roller coaster ride for Lone Star State, beginning with a Texas Supreme Court ruling upholding Abbott’s executive order banning mask warrants from schools and other public places.
The court temporarily reversed its decision Thursday, allowing a Travis County judge’s order to restrict Abbott’s bans to be maintained because of a technical element that an appellate court still he had not known the case.
But for now, it seems that schools have the domain of the authority to implement mask requirements.
The updated TEA guidance requiring schools to notify parents, teachers and school staff of positive COVID-19 cases in classrooms, along with the new Texas Supreme Court ruling leaving mask warrants, gives schools important resources to fight the COVID-19 virus.
“Tonight we turn off the lights knowing that another day has passed with local regulations still in place,” said Austin Mayor Steve Adler (D) he tweeted following the Texas Supreme Court ruling Thursday. “Sleep well.”
Abbott, after testing positive for COVID-19, has also taken steps this week to emphasize his commitment to fighting the spread of the virus, although he does not deal directly with masks in schools.
His office announced Thursday that more front-line medical personnel would be deployed to help overwhelmed hospitals and that additional COVID-19 antibody infusion centers would be opened throughout Texas.
“Our state’s front-line health care workers work tirelessly to keep jeans healthy and safe,” Abbott said in a statement. “The substantial increase in infusion centers will reduce hospitalizations and the added medical staff will help treat patients with COVID-19 who are already in hospitals.”
Abbott, who is fully vaccinated and is receiving antibody therapy treatment in response to his positive COVID-19 test, noted that “hospitalizations can also be avoided if jeans receive the COVID-19 vaccine.”
Schools have become a COVID-19 battlefield in several states, as have some governors, including the governor of Abbott, Florida. Ron DeSantisRon DeSantisAP pushes DeSantis to end press secretary intimidation of journalist Overnight Health Care: The battle for masks in Florida increases as two school districts are given 48 hours to meet Florida Florida gives two school districts 48 hours to meet the rule on masks or lose MORE funding (R) and the governor of Arizona. Doug DuceyDoug Ducey ENERGY FOR NEW: Drought hits Colorado River, but politics won’t stay there Colorado River cuts will set the stage for a decade of drought policy. Biden will demand vaccination against COVID-19 of all staff in the residences | Democrats accept COVID mandates in MORE governorship races (R), have banned mask warrants in schools, which has caused some local districts to challenge the bans.
Astustin Independent School District superintendent Stephanie Elizalde published a publication in Time magazine earlier this week defending the district’s decision to order the use of masks.
“Requiring masks is not and never has been challenging the governor,” Elizalde wrote. “It’s about having local control to respond to data about our local conditions, which have become terrible.”
Shannon Holmes, executive director of the Texas Association of Professional Educators (ATPE), said after “a week” that she doesn’t think the battle is over, but that she “only changes places right now.” Court proceedings.
“The fact that all of this is going well when school has started creates uncertainty for teachers and parents and, honestly, for school administrators,” he said.
“We have heard a lot of uncertainty, basically from both sides, about what to do at the moment,” he added. “There are certainly more questions than answers to this point.”
ATPE, the state’s largest educators’ association, asked Abbott last month to revoke its order banning mask requirements in schools, saying the decision should fall on individual school districts. .
The Paris Independent School District (ISD), located in northeast Texas, also announced this week that it modified its dress code to include masks while criticizing the governor for trying to usurp the “exclusive power and duty of the council.” to govern and oversee the management of the district’s public schools. “
But Dennis Eichelbaum, an attorney for Eichelbaum Wardell Hansen Powell i Muñoz, who is general counsel for Paris ISD and other districts, said he did not see it as a “gap.”
“It’s the obvious choice for me, as the governor has no authority over our dress codes,” he said.
“The board considered that, based on the current pandemic and concerns about children not being able to be vaccinated, it was in the best interest of students and faculty to assign masks,” he added.
Cases of COVID-19 have increased in the United States and Texas over the summer with the spread of the highly transmissible delta variant. The Lone Star State reached an average of seven days of more than 16,000 cases a day on Thursday, the highest point since early February, according to data from The New York Times.
“Our cases yesterday were above the seven-day moving average, and hospitalizations above the seven-day moving average,” Adler told The Hill earlier this week. “The ICUs are exceeding our seven-day moving average, so we’re still really worried about the numbers we’re seeing.”
Texas also has the most currently hospitalized children with nearly 200 pediatric beds filled, followed by Florida with 179 hospitalized children, according to data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Now, children are more susceptible to the virus after vaccinating more adults and the delta variant has become established in the country and in the state, said Texas Medical Association president Linda Villarreal.
In Texas, 13.2% of all children are fully vaccinated and 16.6% have received at least one dose, according to the Mayo Clinic. But children under the age of 12 are not yet eligible to receive prey pending authorization from the Food and Drug Administration.
Villarreal, who is also an internal medicine doctor, stressed that masking is “the only way to protect our children” under the age of 12 from infections in the classroom.
“I hope that if these school districts force the mask to be worn, there will still be some who will challenge it,” he said. “If these school districts do not require masks, there will be an increase in possible infections.”
“If there are more than two or three children in a class who are not masked or vaccinated, we will see an infection rate skyrocketing,” he added.