Texas District Finds Loophole in Ban on Mask Mandates

As school mask drama continues in other states as well
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 18, 2021 3:01 AM CDT
Florida to Punish 2 School Districts for Mask Mandates
Stillman Middle School students in face masks walk through their campus courtyard to class during their first day back to school Tuesday, Aug. 17, 2021, in Brownsville, Texas.   (Miguel Roberts/The Brownsville Herald via AP)

The two Florida school districts requiring masks, in defiance of Gov. Ron DeSantis' executive order banning such mandates, could be punished over the issue. State education officials determined Tuesday that Broward and Alachua county school districts are in violation of state law, the Washington Post reports. The Florida Board of Education said school officials should be investigated and possibly disciplined. Penalties, which would be the first ones assessed since DeSantis issued his order, could include the withholding of funding or the removal of school officials. School mask drama continued in other states as well:

  • Arizona: Gov. Doug Ducey said Tuesday that the state will use federal COVID relief funds to increase funding for schools—but only for school districts that are doing in-person learning and not requiring masks, CNN reports. "These grants acknowledge efforts by schools and educators that are following state laws and keeping their classroom doors open for Arizona's students," he said, in what the network calls a "notable escalation" of his fight against school mask mandates.
  • Texas: One school district defying Gov. Greg Abbott's ban on school mask mandates has discovered a loophole in his executive order. Rather than issuing a mask mandate specifically, Paris ISD added masks to the school's dress code, the Star-Telegram reports. "Nothing in the Governor’s Executive Order 38 states he has suspended Chapter 11 of the Texas Education Code, and therefore the Board has elected to amend its dress code consistent with its statutory authority," the district says in a statement.
  • Public opinion: Nearly seven out of ten Americans support school mask mandates, according to a new poll, but that breaks down by party as 92% of Democrats and 44% of Republicans. Arkansas, Iowa, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Utah have also banned mask mandates in schools.
(Tennessee made a move on masks in school Monday.)

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