by Asher Notheis

The Texas Supreme Court struck down a mask mandate within San Antonio’s school districts Thursday, the latest rejection of a local mandate in the state as debates rage over how to keep students and educators safe while returning to in-person instruction.

Gov. Greg Abbott and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton have both been vocal against mask mandates within their state, even as several counties have attempted unsuccessfully to appeal the governor’s May 18 executive order banning mask mandates in school districts, among other places.

Following the court’s decision , Paxton tweeted a reminder that public schools in Texas cannot mandate masks, echoing previous threats to take any school districts or businesses that defy the order to court.

“If your kids’ public schools are still requiring masks, email,” Paxton tweeted . “They are wasting your tax dollars dragging everyone into litigation!”


San Antonio’s failure to mount a successful legal challenge to the executive order is the latest in a string of defeats for counties resisting the directive. Dallas and Bexar counties took the governor’s order to court earlier this month, but both were blocked from mandating masks by the Texas Supreme Court.

The governor’s order forbidding mask mandates caused schools to think creatively to work around the governor’s law, such as the Paris Independent School District , which implemented masks as part of the school’s dress code on Aug. 17. Other school districts have simply ignored Abbott’s directive, including one school district in Dallas , which implemented a mask mandate on Aug. 9 despite the legal consequences.

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As of Aug. 26, the state has over 270,000 active COVID-19 cases , according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.Over 67% of Texas’s residents have received their first dose of a vaccine, while over 56% have been fullyvaccinated, the state’s Health and Human Services Commission added .

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