The Plano Independent School District is among the latest to require masks for students and staff, though they are allowing some parents the opportunity to opt out.
During an emergency meeting Monday the school board passed the mandate 6-1 after hearing from nearly 100 people on both sides of the issue.
"Your business is education. You have not been elected to make health care decisions for my family or take away my freedom of choice for my children and what's right," one attendee said.
A different speaker, in favor of masks, said, "You've got loud voices here parroting freedom, but freedom to choose does not mean you have the freedom to infect me or my children. I wear a mask to protect you. You wear a mask to protect me. It's about the most American thing we can all do."
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"If one child in class has COVID and doesn’t know it and they’re not wearing a mask, that unmasked kid could more easily spread COVID," another attendee added.
The mandate goes into effect for the district's roughly 4,000 employees and 50,000 students on Thursday and will remain in effect until Sept. 24 or until there's a change in the guidance either locally or as the result of ongoing litigation related to Gov. Greg Abbott's executive orders.
"The situation that we’re in is a delta variant that is surging at the beginning of school when we’ve got all of our kids in close contact," Plano ISD School Board President Davide Stolle said.
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Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has promised to sue any school district that violated the governor's orders.
Some parents have already said they will not go along with the mandate. The measure does allow for exceptions for medical or philosophical reasons. According to NBC 5's media partners at The Dallas Morning News, the board's decision allowed for exceptions to the mask mandate, including for medical or philosophical reasons.
Plano ISD had more than 200 COVID cases among students and staff as of Friday.
This district said it would continue to consult with county health services and the Texas Education Agency for future decisions.
Editor's note: A quote from two different attendees was unintentionally attributed to the same person. They have been clarified above.