HOUSTON – As Gov. Greg Abbott seeks to ban local officials and school districts from requiring masks, a few Houston-area school districts have announced plans to set mask mandates for staff and students for the 2021-2022 school year.
Many of the school districts, some of which have not started classes yet, have not outlined their stance.
Meanwhile, leaders in Harris and Fort Bend counties, have filed lawsuits against Abbott’s executive orders. On Thursday, Judge Lina Hidalgo issued a health order requiring masks at all public schools, non-religion schools and daycares in Harris County.
Here is a round-up of the mask policy for local school districts:
On August 13, the school district announced that all staff, students, and visitors must wear a mask on all Aldine ISD buses and when visiting campuses and administrative buildings beginning August 16, 2021.
Alief ISD plans to follow the state’s COVID-19 guidance, and face masks will remain optional.
On August 13, Alvin ISD announced it would not require face coverings due to Gov. Abbott’s executive order prohibiting mask mandates. The district added that it does strong recommend them.
Clear Creek ISD
On August 13, Clear Creek ISD announced it will comply with Governor Greg Abbott’s Executive Order prohibiting a school district from mandating masks.
On August 13, the district stated it was reviewing the conflicting orders from Harris County and Gov. Abbott and was seeking the advice of legal counsel. “It is our hope that some of the legal proceedings will have concluded, and clearer guidance will be received from our state and local officials prior to the first day of school, Aug. 23,” the district said in a statement.
On August 13, the district said it will wait before enforcing Hidalgo’s mask mandate to ensure the district will not face any repercussions from the state. For the time being, staff and students are highly encouraged but not required to wear face masks.
Deer Park ISD
On August 13, the district announced it will continue monitoring “the ongoing discussion about the state and county mask orders.” In the meantime, the school district encourages unvaccinated individuals to don face masks when on school property. Face masks remain optional.
Fort Bend ISD
Fort Bend ISD plans to follow the state’s COVD-19 guidance, and face masks will remain optional.
Galena Park ISD
On August 13, the district announced it would comply with the Health Control Order issued by Harris County. “Effective immediately, Galena Park ISD will require all students, staff, teachers, and visitors to wear masks, regardless of vaccination status, while indoors on school property and school buses, until further notice,” the district said in a statement.
On August 13, Galveston ISD announced it will require students and staff to wear face masks at al district facilities and on buses when school begins on August 23.
Houston ISD unanimously voted Thursday in favor of a mask mandate, requiring all staff and students to wear masks on campus.
Humble ISD plans to follow its current COVID protocols, and face masks will remain optional.
On August 13, Katy ISD stated it was reviewing the conflicting orders and seeking the guidance of legal counsel. “It is our hope that some of the county and state legal proceedings will have concluded, and more clear guidance will be received from our state and local officials prior to the first day of school, on Wednesday, August 18,” the district said in a statement. In the meantime, students and staff are encouraged but not required to wear face masks.
Lamar ISD plans to continue to follow the state’s COVD-19 guidance, and face masks will remain optional.
Pearland ISD plans to continue to follow the state’s COVID-19 guidance, and face masks will remain optional.
As of August 13, Sheldon ISD is consulting with legal counsel to determine what steps, if any, the district will take. The district began its school year on August 11 recommending students and staff wear face masks. Face masks remain optional.
Spring Branch ISD
On August 13, the district announced it will not require its students and staff to wear masks on campus.
Texas City ISD
On Aug. 17, the district announced it will require students and staff to wear masks on campuses and buses.
KPRC 2 hasn’t heard back from the following districts:
Barbers Hill ISD
La Porte ISD
New Caney ISD
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