As coronavirus cases continue to surge in Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order issued last spring banning school districts, governmental bodies or any public or private entities that receiving public funds from requiring masks is facing growing resistance.
The Southern Center for Child Advocacy group filed a lawsuit Sunday night against Abbott’s order. The lawsuit claims that Abbott is overreaching his authority and that his emergency powers should be used to take proactive steps and “not to advance an anti-mask political agenda that has no discernible basis in the data regarding the COVID-19 contagion rate.” Stressing the risk to health and safety of students and teachers, the lawsuit further emphasizes the disproportionate risk posed to students of color and those with disabilities.
Several independent school districts in metropolitan areas have indicated that they are likely to take action against the order. Officials from independent school districts in Dallas and Austin have already announced that they will require students and teachers to wear masks on campus. The Houston ISD is likely to follow suit.
The governor has continued to reiterate his refusal to issue government mandates to slow the spread of the virus. His prolonged prohibition on mask requirements in state institutions has faced extensive criticism, including at a federal level.