SAN ANTONIO — School districts are now having to decide if they will be enforcing mask mandates after a district judge granted the city and county a temporary injunction against Governor Abbott’s order prohibiting it.
In an unanimous decision, the Northside Independent School District school board agreed late Tuesday night to make masks mandatory for all staff, students and visitors.
"We wanted to make sure that we waited as long as we could prior to the start of students returning on August 23 to make that decision," Barry Perez, the Executive Director of Communications for NISD said.
Northside ISD is now the largest school district in San Antonio to impose a mask mandate. The district is home to more than 100,000 students.
"The temporary facemask mandate was a decision made in the best interests of the well-being of students and staff," Perez said.
Perez said they heard from parents on both sides of the issue, and didn’t take any input lightly. Perez also acknowledged, however, the situation remains fluid.
"I think it's frustrating for everyone -- parents, staff members, students as well," Perez said.
North East ISD has gone back and forth on the issue, first saying they were necessary, but now, masks are optional.
"We don't want our parents to continue to be confused. We don't want to be ping ponging and sending out different information," Aubrey Chancellor, Executive Director of Communications for NEISD said.
The American Academy of Pediatrics is strongly recommending kids over the age of two wear a mask. In a recent report, AAP said there’s been a 5% increase in COVID-19 cases in children across the country from July 29 to August 12.
NEISD reported seeing transmission in the classroom in their year-round school, Castle Hills Elementary.
"We have some data that we strongly believe shows the effectiveness of masks," Chancellor said.
The Texas Attorney General's office is releasing a list of entities unlawfully imposing mask mandates. On the list is Bexar county and several San Antonio school districts. Ken Paxton’s office said it’s committed to protecting the rights and freedoms of all Texans
NEISD plans to hold an emergency board meeting on Thursday to discuss the COVID-19 pandemic, and once again, the future of masks in their district.