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NEISD says masks are optional but strongly encouraged at school Monday after Texas Supreme Court issues stay

Superintendent Sean Maika said the district is noticing higher direct-contact spread of COVID-19 compared to last year.

SAN ANTONIO — UPDATE: NEISD released a statement on Sunday after the Texas Supreme Court issued a stay against an order in Bexar County allowing mask mandates, saying that because of the temporary restraining order, face coverings would be optional but strongly encouraged.

Original story:

Bexar County school districts continue to be caught in the middle of a legal mask mandate matchup between state and local leaders. 

When Metro Health announced its directive requiring the use of face coverings at local schools earlier this week, NEISD said it would comply. Now, Superintendent Sean Maika is strengthening his positing.

In a virtual statement released Friday evening, no matter how the issue plays out in court in the long run, he will strongly encourage masks. 

In the message, Maika says the inter-district spread of COVID-19 is far worse than last year at its one school which is currently open, Castle Hills Elementary, and student-to-student spread is showing to be more common than the 2020-'21 last year. 

"At this point, the data is showing us that mitigation strategies are necessary," Maika says. "If spread continues, we may be forced to close schools."

NEISD's first day of school across the district is Monday. 

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