Texas School District Gets Around Gov. Abbott's Ban on Masks by Adding Them to Dress Code

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott — who announced yesterday that he tested positive for COVID-19 — has issued an executive order banning schools from enacting mask mandates

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A Texas school district is taking advantage of a loophole to get around Gov. Greg Abbott's ban on mask mandates.

The Paris Independent School District, in the northeastern part of the state, announced that they have added masks to their dress code to get around the ban.

"The Board of Trustees is concerned about the health and safety of its students and employees," they said in a statement. "The Board believes the dress code can be used to mitigate communicable health issues, and therefore has amended the PISD dress code to protect our students and employees."

The board had held an emergency meeting on Tuesday night with parents and doctors to discuss their concerns about sending students and staff back into schools without masks as COVID-19 cases soar in Texas. After talking for more than an hour, according to The Paris News, the board elected to add masks to their dress code, a decision they'll reevaluate each month.

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The mask requirement gets around Abbott's executive order, which bans government entities, including school districts, from enacting mask mandates or vaccination requirements.

"The Texas Governor does not have the authority to usurp the Board of Trustees' exclusive power and duty to govern and oversee the management of the public schools of the district," the board said.

Abbott is currently sick with COVID-19, although he has been vaccinated, he announced Tuesday. His state is currently dealing with a massive increase in infections, hospitalizations and deaths as the delta variant spreads through the state, where just 47% of Texans are fully vaccinated.

Earlier this week, Texas' health department requested five mortuary trucks to deal with an expected influx of dead bodies with COVID-19 deaths up 307% over the last 14 days, and several regions out of hospital ICU beds.

Two counties had challenged Abbott's executive order banning vaccination and mask requirements, but the Texas Supreme Court upheld the order over the weekend.

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