Dallas school superintendent issues mask order in defiance of Greg Abbott: A 'necessary safety protocol'

Dallas school superintendent issues mask order in defiance of Greg Abbott: A 'necessary safety protocol'
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott in 2016, Wikimedia Commons

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is not the only far-right Republican who has issued an anti-mask order for public schools at a time when COVID-19's highly infectious Delta variant is surging in the United States; Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has also issued a statewide ban on requiring masks in public schools. But Michael Hinojosa, superintendent of the Dallas Independent School District, has announced that he is defying Abbott's order.

Hinojosa warned, "We're in a situation that has gotten significantly more urgent."

Ben Mackey, president of the Dallas ISD board, fully supports Hinojosa's position.

In an official statement, Mackey said, "The superintendent is the educational leader and chief executive officer of our school district tasked with the day-to-day operations of the district, which includes implementing safety protocols. Requiring masks for staff and students while on district property is a reasonable and necessary safety protocol to protect against the spread of COVID-19 and the new Delta variant."

Dallas Morning News reporters Corbett Smith and Talia Richman note that Hinojosa isn't the only school superintendent in Texas who believes that Abbott's anti-mask policy is bad for students.

"Dallas is the first district in the state to flout the governor's order; Houston — the state's largest district — is considering such a move," Smith and Richman report. "Its new superintendent, Millard House II, announced last week that he would bring a mask mandate in front of Houston trustees at their next board meeting, August 12. School officials say it's necessary in the face of the highly contagious Delta variant. The youngest students remain ineligible for the COVID-19 vaccine."

By defying Abbott's executive order on masks, Hinojosa is risking a $1000 fine. When the Dallas Morning News asked him about a possible fine, Hinojosa responded, "Who knows? All this is going to play itself out, and we're not going to be only ones taking this action."

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