DALLAS COUNTY, Texas — This story will be constantly updated as we receive new information.
The Texas Supreme Court granted a major win to Gov. Greg Abbott in both Dallas and Bexar counties Sunday, upholding his executive ban on mask mandates that will nullify new mask orders signed in both regions.
Dallas Independent School District Superintendent Michael Hinojosa said Sunday Dallas ISD will continue with its mask mandate, despite the court's ruling.
Hinojosa said the ruling only impacted Judge Jenkins and the county, not Dallas ISD.
Hinojosa also said that there will be a separate room away from the student body on each campus for students who don't comply with mask orders to continue learning.
Last week, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins was successfully granted a temporary restraining order against Abbott's mask mandate ban as COVID-19 cases surge.
It paved the way for Jenkins to issue a new countywide mask mandate for public buildings, schools, and businesses that went into effect last Wednesday at midnight.
Alongside Abbott, Attorney General Ken Paxton appealed the decision handed down by Judge Tonya Paker in the 116th Civil District Court in Dallas County.
But the appeal went to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in Dallas, where Democratic justices outnumber Republican justices 11-2.
That appellate court denied both Abbott and Paxton their request to overturn the temporary restraining order.
Paxton then announced he would be taking the fight to the Texas Supreme Court, where all justices are Republican.
In a petition for a writ of mandamus to the Texas Supreme Court, Paxton’s office said the Texas Disaster Act of 1975 gives the governor power to act as the “‘commander in chief’ of the state’s response to a disaster. Attorneys representing cities and counties that have sued Abbott over his executive order have argued that his orders should not supersede local orders.
Sunday's decision comes a day before most of the Dallas County region heads back to school.
It will block Jenkins' mask mandate until the judge's temporary injunction hearing is complete or comes to a decision.
The same goes for Bexar County.
Jenkins responded Sunday afternoon saying he won't stop working to protect residents within the county.
Other Dallas County school district responses
- Irving Independent School District said Sunday it "highly encourages masks" but also will "adhere to the Supreme Court’s decision until further guidance on the matter is provided."
- Mesquite Independent School District said Sunday in a tweet it will follow the Supreme Court's decision and will not require masks in buildings but "in the strongest terms possible, MISD urges all students and staff members wear masks as a precaution to protect others from the spread of COVID-19."
- Garland Independent School District said it "strongly encourages all staff and students to wear masks to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus," but will no longer mandate masks.
- Lancaster ISD said Sunday that "although our school district cannot legally mandate face masks within our schools, we strongly encourage and recommend that all students and employees wear a mask or face covering while at school or work." Their entire school plan can be seen here.
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