The Austin and Dallas school districts are defying the governor and will require masks for students and staff members when they return in the fall.
The Austin Independent School District announced during a school board meeting on Monday night that they would be joining the Dallas Independent School District in defying the order.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed an order in May stating that no government institutions or schools districts can impose a mask mandate.
Austin ISD Superintendent Stephanie Elizalde acknowledged that many people would not be happy with the decision, but that they were imposing it anyways.
“That being said, I am responsible for the safety, the health and the welfare of each and every one of our students and our staff,” Elizalde said, according to a report from KUT. “If I err, I must err on the side of ensuring that we have been overly cautious, not that we have fallen short.”
Dallas Superintendent Michael Hinojosa announced their mandate on Monday morning.
“We’re in a situation that has gotten significantly more urgent,” Hinojosa said.
In a statement, Ben Mackey, Dallas’ school board president, said he was fully supportive of Hinojosa’s stance, the Dallas Morning News reported.
“The superintendent is the educational leader and chief executive officer of our school district tasked with the day-to-day operations of the district, which includes implementing safety protocols,” Mackey said. “Requiring masks for staff and students while on district property is a reasonable and necessary safety protocol to protect against the spread of COVID-19 and the new delta variant.
“Towards the end of last school year, we saw very low transmissions rates on campuses, thanks in part to masks being worn consistently by educators and students.”