‘Safety of our students and staff is our top priority’: Masks are optional at Irving ISD

‘Safety of our students and staff is our top priority’: Masks are optional at Irving ISD_60f1e674ab754.jpeg

Irving Independent School District (ISD) said the school district will continue to practice safety and sanitation protocols, while encouraging all coming into any building to wear masks, but it will not be required. 

Irving ISD Chief of Marketing and Communications Nicole Mansell said that while Gov. Greg Abbott’s mask mandate being lifted went into effect on June 4, the district will comply but supports those who still wish to wear masks to protect themselves. 

“In Irving ISD, the safety of our students and staff is our top priority. The district is aware of Gov. Abbot’s executive order that prohibits governmental entities in Texas, including school districts, from requiring or mandating mask-wearing effective Friday, June 4. Irving ISD will comply with this mandate. However, the district will support any student or staff member who wishes to continue to wear a mask,” Mansell told Dallas Express. “Irving ISD will continue to follow our sanitation protocols and to partner with community health organizations to organize additional COVID-19 vaccination drives for staff and students ages 12 and older.”

On Monday, May 17, Gov. Abbott issued an executive order prohibiting governmental entities from requiring or mandating mask wearing and those who violate the order could face a $1,000 fine.

The first mask mandate issued by Gov. Abbott in July 2020 required virtually all Texans to wear a mask in public spaces, and in March, he lifted the statewide mask mandate, preventing local governments from instituting their own mandates but several municipalities ignored him, which led to the latest mandate.

Abbott’s actions have widely been contrasted with that of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who rescinded all COVID restrictions, including mask requirements in the fall of 2020, NPR reported. Gov. DeSantis, did however, allow localities to maintain its mandates and “neutered” any ability to enforce the order.

The most recent order from Gov. DeSantis conflicts with Abbott’s approach, critics of Gov. Abbott say. Gov. DeSantis was the first to ban local governments from mandating masks, and beating Texas in the newest mandate by two weeks, though Gov. DeSantis’ mandate did not include schools, The Tampa Bay reported. 

Currently, Texas reported zero COVID deaths for the first time in over a year, ABC 13 reported. 

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