Texas is now suing ‘rogue officials’ in 9 more districts to block mask mandates

Texas accuses one superintendent of 'continuing to waste precious state resources on impossible lawsuits'
By: | September 15, 2021
A student in Texas' Ector ISD last year.A student in Texas' Ector ISD last year.

Another nine Texas school districts that have mandated masks now face lawsuits from an attorney general who has called defiant superintendents “rogue local officials” who are wasting school resources.

The state is taking La Vega, McGregor, Midway, Waco, Diboll, Lufkin, Longview, Paris and Honey Grove ISD to court for defying Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order banning mask mandates in schools, Attorney General Ken Paxton announced this week.

“There will be more to come as lawlessness continues across the state,” Paxton said on Facebook.

Paxton, who sued six other districts over masks last week, won a restraining order to block administrators in Paris ISD from enforcing their mandate. In August, Paris ISD’s school board tried to get around Abbott’s order by making masks a part of the school’s dress code.

“The law is clear and this superintendent knows this, yet he has no issue continuing to waste precious state resources on impossible lawsuits instead of providing for his students,” Paxton said of Paris ISD Superindentent Paul Jones. “

This temporary restraining order is just the first step in restoring order to our great state and ending this disruption from rogue local officials.”

He has also sued San Antonio ISD over that district’s employe vaccine mandate.

National student mandate?

The Biden administration has no current plans to impose a national vaccine mandate for K-12 students.

“(Biden) is recommending to governors and leaders in states that they do push for requirements in schools,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in an interview with WISN 12 in Milwaukee. “But that’s going to be up to local school districts and localities to determine what is right for them.”

“If school districts decide to use their limited funding to try to get away with breaking the law, my office will oppose them and uphold the rule of law in Texas,” Paxton said.

Blocking COVID in schools

Universal masking and weekly testing are highly effective in preventing transmission of COVID in schools, according to a new study by the University of Texas at Austin’s COVID-19 Modeling Consortium.

Researchers forecast transmission of COVID in a generic 500-student elementary school, with 70% of the staff members vaccinated and 150 new cases of COVID per day in the surrounding city.

They modeled low, moderate and high transmission scenarios in which 11%, 22% and 33% of students became infected, respectively, in the absence of face masks and proactive testing.

In the moderate transmission scenario, here’s what they projected:

  • If 50% or 100% of students wear masks, there will be 34% or 60% fewer infections, respectively.
  • If students do not wear masks but are tested either once per week or once per month, there would be 78% or 46% fewer infections, respectively.
  • If 50% of students wear masks and all students are tested every week, then we would expect 84% fewer infections.
  • Separating students into all-mask and no-mask classes is projected to lower infection risks for students who wear masks and increase risks for students who do not.