Texas Supreme Court backs governor on mask mandates

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The Texas Supreme Court on Sunday sided with Gov. Greg Abbott by issuing temporary stay orders on the subject of mask mandates in public schools.

The orders were in cases from Dallas County and Bexar County, where San Antonio is located. Both counties had tried to defy an executive order from Abbott by mandating masks for children in their schools. Other counties in Texas have also attempted to implement mandates in defiance of Abbott.

The temporary orders stop the two counties from imposing those requirements until the courts can sort the matter out.

Texas, like much of the country, has been roiled by debates on whether schools or school districts can require students to wear masks as a way to combat the spread of Covid-19 in the classroom. In May, Abbott issued an executive order banning any government entity in the state from requiring masks for its residents, including school districts. Despite the surge of Covid cases in recent weeks, Abbott has remained adamant that mandates should not be imposed.

The state’s 4th Court of Appeals in San Antonio and the 5th Court of Appeals in Dallas last week tossed out the prohibitions against mask mandates, making it possible for the districts to impose requirements. On Friday, state Attorney General Ken Paxton tweeted that the state was appealing those rulings. “The rule of law will decide,” he tweeted.

“The ban doesn’t prohibit using masks,” Abbott wrote on Twitter after Sunday’s ruling. “Anyone who wants to wear a mask can do so, including in schools.”

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