SALADO, Texas (KWTX) – Salado Middle School students, employees and visitors are now required to wear masks for at least the next four days.
The decision is in line with the Salado Independent School District’s policy stating face masks will be required if two percent or more of a campus’ population tests positive for COVID-19 within a 7-day period.
The masks would only be required for a week as long as COVID-19 cases reduce to below two percent.
For a Salado Middle School’s 600-person population, two percent of cases meant 12 people who attend or work on campus testing positive for COVID-19.
The school district said the policy prioritizes the health and safety of students while avoiding the polarizing aspect of enacting a long-term mask mandate.
Governor Gregg Abbott issued an executive order banning schools and government entities across the state from enacting mask mandates.
Since then, several school districts across the state have defied the governor and enacted mandates anyway. Some have even filed lawsuits seeking to nullify the governor’s order.
The Texas Education Agency which governs schools has said it will not enforce the ban on mask mandates in schools, instead will leave it to the courts to decide.
Salado ISD Superintendent Michael Novotny said the district consulted with its team of lawyers before enacting its mask policy. He said the district plans to follow through with its mask policy until there is clear legal guidance.
“Once there’s a final ruling, we’ll certainly come back to the school board and discuss it and make adjustments as necessary based on the final ruling from the Texas Supreme Court or the state legislature,” Novotny said.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has threated to sue school districts who violate the mask mandate ban. So far, no such suits have been filed.
In fact, Paxton in response to lawsuits against him by various school districts has said he and Gov. Abbott do not have the authority to enforce mask mandates therefore they should not be the targets of counter-lawsuits.
The masking requirement at Salado Middle school will affect the following school on Thursday, September 2; Friday, September 3; Tuesday, September 7; and Wednesday, September 8.
Written by Rosemond Crown