La Joya ISD announces temporary mask mandate, plans to file lawsuit against Abbott

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FILE – A student wears a face mask while doing work at his desk at the Post Road Elementary School, in White Plains, N.Y., in this Thursday, Oct. 1, 2020, file photo. U.S. health officials say the highly contagious delta version of the coronavirus is behind changes to mask guidelines. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this week announced that fully vaccinated people should resume wearing masks indoors if they live in areas where the virus is surging. CDC officials said new information about the spread of the delta variant forced them to reverse course. The agency also said teachers and students everywhere should go back to wearing masks in schools. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, FIle)

Editor’s note: This story was updated with new information.

LA JOYA, Texas (ValleyCentral) — La Joya Independent School District’s administration decided to temporarily require staff, students, and visitors to wear masks on district properties despite the governor’s threat to go take the district to court.

Shortly after announcing the mask mandate, La Joya ISD board of trustees approved for the legal counsel to file a lawsuit against Governor Greg Abbott, the State of Texas, and parties related.

Details of the lawsuit were not mentioned, however, the lawsuit is for the state government to allow districts to make local decisions regarding the health and safety of their students and employees.

The decision to incorporate the mask mandate was made due to the recent rise in COVID-19 hospitalizations due to the delta variant, according to a social media post.

The announcement remarked that the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and Hidalgo County officials raised COVID-19 alert to the highest level (Level 1).

Although Texas Education Agency does not require schools to do contact tracing, La Joya ISD will do so for any COVID-positive on-campus case.

On Wednesday, Abbott issued a petition in the 5th Court of Appeals against Dallas County for issuing a mask mandate at public schools and commercial entities.

The governor stated that this action is a violation of executive order GA-38, which prohibits governmental entities and officials from mandating face coverings. 

“The path forward relies on personal responsibility—not government mandates,” said Abbott. “The State of Texas will continue to vigorously fight the temporary restraining order to protect the rights and freedoms of all Texans.”

La Joya ISD stated that GA-38 “does not limit the district’s rights as an employee and educational institution to establish reasonable necessary safety rules for its staff and students.”

School attendance continues to be mandatory and virtual learning is not an option for La Joya ISD.

“La Joya ISD remains committed to the safety of our students and staff and assures our parents and community that we are doing everything in our power to combat this virus.”

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