Aubrey ISD ‘will comply’ with governor’s anti-mask order


Not all government entities in Texas are going along with Gov. Greg Abbott’s anti-mask mandate issued earlier this month but Aubrey Independent School District (ISD) will comply.

“Yes, we will comply with Gov. Abbott’s executive order GA-36,” Aubrey ISD Superintendent Dr. David Bryan Belding told the Dallas Express.

That compliance does not mean that all COVID-related safety protocols will end at the school district, Belding said.

“Through the end of this school year and summer school, we are maintaining our protocols except face coverings will be optional in compliance of Gov. Abbott’s executive order and desk dividers are optional,” he said.

The school district’s graduation ceremony last week, along with those of other Denton County school districts, also was moved from University of North Texas to the Texas Motor Speedway.

“Having this larger, outdoor venue will allow for us to comply with social distancing guidelines outlined by Denton County Health Services and Gov. Abbott’s executive order,” Belding said in a separate announcement issued days before the “drive-in movie style” event. 

The ISD provided attending graduates with keepsake cloth masks embroidered with the district’s logo and diploma presentation was hands-free and followed social distancing guidelines.

The ceremonies also were live streamed for high-risk family members, those actively quarantining and others who wanted to watch the graduations from the safety of elsewhere.

Belding was named the ISD’s superintendent in June 2016.

Belding’s comments to the Dallas Express came a little more than a week after Texas marked its first day with no COVID deaths. Gov. Greg Abbott announced the milestone in a May 16 Twitter post.

“Today Texas reported zero COVID-related deaths – the only time that’s happened since data was tracked on March 2020,” Abbott said in his Twitter post.

May 16 also marked the fewest reported COVID cases in more than 13 months, the “lowest seven-day COVID positivity rate ever” and the lowest number of hospitalizations in 11 months, the governor said.

“Thanks, Texans,” the post concluded.

Abbott lifted the state’s mask mandate in March and earlier this month sought to intervene in local governments’ autonomous rights to maintain their own mask mandates.

Abbott’s anti-mask order has met defiance in some parts of the state.

In a separate news release, Abbott specifically said that his May 18 executive order included school districts.

“Public schools may continue to follow current mask-wearing guidelines through June 4,” Abbott said in the news release. “After June 4, no student, teacher, parent or other staff member or visitor can be required to wear a mask while on campus.”

Aubrey ISD hasn’t yet decided what precautions students, parents, faculty and administrators can expect next school year.

“We will set our processes for the fall semester during the summer,” Aubrey said.

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