Hidalgo County issued a mask mandate for all school districts, effective immediately for nine weeks. The mandate applies to students, employees and visitors in all district facilities and on school buses.
The local health authority’s order states that school districts can opt-out of the mandate by a majority vote from their respective boards of trustees.
Prior to the new mandate, several school districts across the state, including the Rio Grande Valley, began defying an executive order from Governor Greg Abbott that stated no governmental entity can enforce masks.
Since Abbott issued Executive Order No. GA 38 on July 29, at least six Valley school boards approved legal action against the governor for not allowing districts to enforce mandates based on the health and safety of their communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sharyland ISD met for three emergency meetings on Aug. 11, Aug. 12 and Aug 13 regarding possible legal action against the governor and the state but ultimately decided against it. At the Aug. 13 meeting, the board voted in favor of complying with the Hidalgo County mandate.
At an Aug. 11 meeting, Mission CISD Superintendent Dr. Carol Perez said the district would only require masks on buses to comply with federal orders. But following Hidalgo County’s new mandate, MCISD released a notice on Aug. 13 stating all students, staff and visitors will be required to wear a face covering in all district facilities.
“We greatly appreciate the support of our county officials in giving us this added tool in protecting our students and employees,” Perez said in the press release. “The use of masks is proven to help control the spread of COVID-19, and this is especially important to all of our families with students who are not old enough to get vaccinated yet.”