Dallas ISD Superintendent Says District Will Continue With Mask Mandate Despite Texas Supreme Court Decision

Dallas ISD Superintendent Dr. Michael Hinojosa said after consulting with lawyers, they don't believe the order applies to DISD.

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During a virtual news conference Sunday evening, Dallas Independent School District Superintendent Michael Hinojosa said the district will continue to require masks.

"We have to protect the health and safety of our students and until there's an official order of the court that applies the Dallas Independent School District, we will continue to have the mask mandate," Hinojosa said to reporters Sunday evening through Zoom.

He held the news conference to address the Texas Supreme Court's order which came down Sunday evening. It sided with Gov. Greg Abbott, and temporarily block Dallas County's mask mandate put in place by Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins. The order also applied to Bexar County.

Hinojosa said after consulting with lawyers, they don't believe the order applies to DISD because the district is not specially listed.

"It listed Clay Jenkins and Dallas County, did not say one word about Dallas ISD," explained Hinojosa.

He said the district is currently not involved in any litigation and until they're told by the court they can't enforce a mandate, they will move forward with masks.

"So we are going to have the mask mandate tomorrow. We're going to be benevolent, we're going to be nice, and we're going to be firm and we're going to enforce it," Hinojosa said as the majority of DISD goes back to class on Monday.

They plan on passing out masks to those who need them and will ask people to comply in a certain amount of time. If they don't there is a code of conduct, according to Hinojosa.

"We have progressive discipline, and we will have alternatives that we've worked with our principals on how to handle every case on a case-by-case manner," he said. "We will hand out masks, we will ask people to comply in a certain amount of time, but we also do not want to endanger people, and so while we're trying to resolve this, we're going to have a different location for those employees, students or staff members."

DISD classes actually started a couple of weeks ago and have phased in back to school in three segments, Monday being the majority of students. He said they haven't had any issues, but recognizes they may run into situations on Monday.

When asked about what a "different location" means, Hinojosa said, "We're working with our campuses to make sure we have a room where we have a teacher for any students who may not want to wear it, may not be participating with everyone else, so they'll have their instructional will go on, but they will not be in the classroom with other students."

There are about 150,000 students and 22,000 employees in the district according to Hinojosa.

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