Arlington ISD is considering taking legal action against Gov. Abbott's executive order prohibiting school districts from requiring face coverings, the board of trustees announced on Friday.
The school district called an emergency meeting of the board of trustees on Friday at 3 p.m.
"Arlington ISD’s attorneys are drafting a lawsuit against Governor Abbott's executive order for consideration by the board of trustees at Thursday’s meeting," Kecia Mays, president of Arlington ISD's Board of Trustees, said. "We are advocating to put the decision to mandate masks back into the hands of our district. We are in a community with a high rate of COVID-19. The positivity rate is over 22%. No ICU beds are availablefor pediatric patients. We have to implement every mitigation effort to slow the spread of COVID-19, and one of the tools we have – the mask – has been taken away as an option to mandate.”
Mays says that the legal action being drafted will be reviewed at the Arlington ISD board meeting on Thursday, Aug. 19.
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After recent decisions by North Texas school districts like Dallas ISD, Fort Worth ISD, and Richardson ISD to require masks on campus during the 2021-2022 school year, Arlington ISD is now joining the growing list of school districts who are challenging Abbott's order.
The board will also hear a recommendation to offer a virtual learning option for students in pre-K through sixth grade since students in that age group cannot be vaccinated at this time.
Superintendent Dr. Marcelo Cavazos urged all students, staff, and visitors to come to school on Monday when the doors open for the new school year – but do so with a mask.
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"I strongly encourage all students, staff and visitors to wear a mask while at our campuses and on the bus. We know it's the best way to protect ourselves and each other from COVID-19."
Arlington ISD officials have previously stated that masks will not be required on campuses during the upcoming school year, complying with the order issued by Gov. Greg Abbott blocking Texas schools and and other government agencies in the state from requiring people to wear face coverings.