Dallas ISD: ‘Everyone is highly encouraged to continue wearing masks’


Dallas Independent School District (ISD) is no longer requiring students, faculty and staff to wear masks amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The decision follows Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s recently issued executive order prohibiting Texas government entities, including public schools, from implementing mask mandates after June 4.

“Everyone is highly encouraged to continue wearing masks inside schools, on buses and all district facilities, as an added measure of safety for all,” Dallas ISD news and information coordinator Nina Lakhiani told the Dallas Express.

The district will still be taking precautions and hold discussions regarding COVID-19 mitigation practices.

“Dallas ISD remains committed to continue following social distancing and sanitation protocols and will make every effort to offer services like student and staff vaccinations, as resources become available,” Lakhiani said. “We will continue studying best practices in the coming weeks and will share updates with our students, staff and families.”

Abbott’s executive order on May 18 gave local governments until May 21 to eliminate their mask mandates while schools were required to lift theirs by June 4. Local governments or officials that fail to comply with the order can be fined up to $1,000.

“We can continue to mitigate COVID-19 while defending Texans’ liberty to choose whether or not they mask up,” Abbott wrote in a May 18 Twitter post.

Abbott’s very first mask mandate order was peculiar and round-a-bout. He began by prohibiting counties from mandating masks, but then hinted that there was a loophole for counties to skirt his order and still mandate masks. It wound up permitting counties to mandate businesses to mandate masks.

In July of 2020, Abbott then instituted a bonafide mask mandate, requiring virtually all Texans to wear a mask in public spaces.

Recently, Texas reported zero COVID deaths for the first time in over a year.

In March of 2021, Abbott lifted the statewide mask mandate and nominally prevented local governments from instituting their own mandates. However, several municipalities ignored him and stuck by their mandates.

Abbott’s actions have often been contrasted with those of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. The latter rescinded all meaningful COVID restrictions, including mask requirements all the way back in the fall of 2020. DeSantis did technically allow localities to mandate masks, but he neutered their ability to enforce any orders.

A recent order from Gov. DeSantis conflicts with Abbott’s approach. The Florida governor was the first to ban local government from mandating masks, beating his Texas counterpart by over two weeks. However, DeSantis’ order did not apply to public schools, whereas the Texas governor’s order explicitly did.

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