Beginning Monday Sept. 13, Fort Worth ISD will require all employees, students, parents and visitors to wear a face mask while inside any district building.
The district announced the requirement Thursday, two weeks after school board trustees approved the resolution requiring the masks at a special meeting on Aug. 26.
Fort Worth is the latest district in North Texas to require masks, despite Gov. Greg Abbott's ban on mask mandates.
Attorney general Ken Paxton is filing lawsuits right now against six other districts across the state -- including Richardson -- for not following the law.
In Fort Worth, implementation of the mask requirement had been halted because of a temporary restraining order and subsequent temporary injunction "filed by four parents and granted by Tarrant County District Judge John Chupp," the district said in a statement.
The district said its attorneys filed an appeal, and the temporary injunction is paused and cannot be enforced until further notice.
The district also said it was also granted a temporary injunction in Travis County that prohibits Gov. Greg Abbott from enforcing Executive Order GA-38 against the district. The order prohibits governmental entities from mandating masks.
"The governor did not seek any injunction against the District in that lawsuit. Accordingly, at this time there are no court orders or executive orders that are prohibiting the District from implementing a mask requirement," the district said.
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Alexander Montalvo, a father of Fort Worth ISD students, has spent the last month calling on the district to require masks in classrooms.
“I’ve done everything from emailing, to communicating to elected officials, giving public comment at school board meeting, organizing direct action, even attending and organizing protests,” Montalvo said.
Montalvo said he hopes the requirement will help decrease the number of COVID-19 cases, particularly in children.
He’s especially worried about his 9-year-old daughter, Juliana Montalvo, who has asthma.
“We are definitely very relieved that on Monday, two of the major things that we were hoping would be able to be implemented, with [a] virtual learning option and a mask mandate,” Montalvo said.
Dr. Greg Phillips, past president of the Tarrant County Medical Society, attended the board meetings that discussed COVID-19 protocols.
“The Medical Society’s approach is basically, follow the science. Science seems to indicate that people wearing masks slow the progression of COVID-19,” Phillips said.
The district's mask mandate will be the same one that was followed during the 2020-2021 school year.
The directive applies to all who enter Fort Worth ISD indoor facilities, absent a medical exemption. Mask will not be required at any outdoor events, and the decision to wear a mask at those events will be left up to the individual.
District Superintendent Kent Scribner will be reviewing the need for a mask mandate on a month-to-month basis.