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San Marcos CISD Board of Trustees to consider mask mandate for upcoming school year

Monday, August 9, 2021

A mask mandate for San Marcos Consolidated ISD students and employees will be up for consideration at an upcoming board of trustees meeting. 

The SMCISD Board of Trustees will meet Thursday to receive legal counsel regarding a possible mask mandate for the upcoming 2021-22 school year. Following legal consultation, the trustees will consider adopting a resolution to mandate masks for employees and students. 

SMCISD recently released its Rattler Return Plan as it gears up for the new school year, which begins on Monday, Aug. 23. The district planned to "highly recommend" the use of face coverings, knowing that it couldn't mandate masks because of an executive order prohibiting public schools from issuing face covering requirements. 

Gov. Greg Abbott issued executive order GA-38, which states that no governmental entity, including county, city, school district and public health authority may require any person to wear a face covering or mandate that other persons wear face coverings. The district could be fined up to $1,000 if it fails to comply with the governor’s executive order. 

Despite Abbott’s order, larger school districts across the state have challenged or are considering objecting against Abbott's executive order.  Dallas Independent School District announced Monday that it will require students and teachers to wear a mask on campus. Austin ISD also announced late Monday that it too would require masks. Houston ISD is expected to vote on a mask mandate during a meeting on Thursday. 

A nonprofit education group — Southern Center for Child Advocacy — is also suing Abbott and his executive order. The lawsuit was filed Sunday night in Travis County. 

In response to DISD and AISD’s move to require masks, a spokesperson for Abbott said parents and guardians have the right to decide whether their child will wear a mask or not. 

“We are all working to protect Texas children and those most vulnerable among us, but violating the Governor's executive order — and violating parental rights — is not the way to do it,” said Renae Eze, spokesperson for Abbott, adding that vaccines are the “best defense against this virus.” 

However, only grade school students 12 years or older are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. 

SMCISD’s mask mandate consideration comes as COVID-19 cases increase in Hays County and across Texas, spurred by the Delta variant. Hays County has seen active coronavirus cases increase 10 fold since the beginning of July. In just over five weeks, the county has seen its active count rise from 177 on July 2 to 1,955 on Monday, according to the Hays County Local Health Department. An additional 40 county residents were hospitalized between Saturday and Tuesday. There are 52 Hays County citizens hospitalized by the coronavirus as of Tuesday, per the local health department. 

Across the state, there are 10,041 Texans hospitalized by COVID-19, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services. There are an estimated 165,511 active COVID-19 cases in Texas.

Thursday’s SMCISD Board of Trustees meeting is set for 6 p.m. at San Marcos High School — 2601 Rattler Road — inside the Criminal Justice Classroom. The meeting can be viewed online at https://www.smcisd.net/Page/320. 

This story has been updated since its first publication. 

San Marcos Record

(512) 392-2458
P.O. Box 1109, San Marcos, TX 78666