Texas Schools Defy Abbott’s Mask Mandate Ban as Two Judges Block Order Amid Skyrocketing COVID Cases
On Tuesday, Bexar County Civil District Court Judge Toni Arteaga sided with Bexar County and the city of San Antonio, which challenged Abbott’s July 29 executive order banning state, county and municipal governments from requiring any kind of COVID-19 safety measure from citizens, from vaccination to masking and social distancing.
However, Judge Arteaga pointed out that children under the age of 12 don’t have access to the vaccine, since the Food and Drug Administration has only approved its use so far for certain age groups based on the emergency situation created by the pandemic.
Dallas Blocks Indoor Mask Ban
“Judge Jenkins cannot be precluded from implementing the mitigation strategies he believes sound, reliable, and backed by scientific evidence on which he relies and must be able to mitigate the damage, injury, and potential loss of life related to the COVID-19 virus,” Judge Parker wrote in the order, referring to Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins, who brought the challenge to her court.
The enemy is not each other. The enemy is the virus and we must all do all that we can to protect public health. School districts and government closest to the people should make decisions on how best to keep students and others safe…. 2/— Clay Jenkins (@JudgeClayJ) August 9, 2021
hospital bed capacity to take care of people with COVID and any other condition that requires medical care or hospitalization. Ultimately, it is about saving lives and saving and protecting children.— Clay Jenkins (@JudgeClayJ) August 9, 2021
Abbott has long been hostile to mask mandates in particular, and Texas was among the first states to drop them in early March as the US emerged from its worst wave of COVID-19 yet - a move US President Joe Biden derided as “neanderthal thinking.”
Outbreak Outstrips Texas’ Abilities
Medical facilities across the state are preparing overflow facilities in tents as the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients has exceeded 10,000 for the first time in six months.
Since the pandemic began, 52,471 Texans have died of COVID-19. CDC data shows that 53% of the population, or two-thirds of adults, have received at least one vaccine dose - among the highest in the South, a region that has become the epicenter for the latest outbreak in large part due to its low vaccination rates.