San Antonio

San Antonio ISD to Require Staff to Get COVID-19 Vaccine

The announcement came after a district court judge upheld the mask mandate in Bexar County

FILE: Buildings stand in the skyline of downtown San Antonio, Texas, U.S., on Thursday, June 5, 2014.
Ty Wright/Bloomberg via Getty Images

All staff in San Antonio ISD will be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 and face masks will be required in schools, the district announced Monday.

The mandates come hours after a district court judge upheld the mask mandate in Bexar County.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a letter Monday "the Supreme Court has spoken" and any local orders that would try "to enjoin the Governor’s authority may not be enforced while the Court considers the underlying merits of these cases." Later Monday, Paxton tweeted, "A wave of lawlessness is sweeping over Texas. I will stop it."

Meantime, Texas health officials have requested five mortuary trailers from the federal government as COVID-19 cases continue soaring and hospitalizations reach the highest levels since January.

The orders by the state’s highest civil court — which is entirely comprised of elected Republican justices — halted mask requirements that county leaders in Dallas and San Antonio put in place as new infections soar and students begin returning to school.

Texas reported 11,791 patients hospitalized with the virus Monday, the most since Jan. 28. In the past month, hospitalizations have increased by 301%.

But officials in Dallas and Bexar counties brushed aside the Texas high court’s order, saying their specific mask mandates had either not been struck down or a final decision on the issue had not yet been made.

Officials in San Antonio and Bexar County said the Texas Supreme Court’s ruling had little practical effect on their lawsuit as state District Judge Antonia Judge Arteaga held a hearing Monday to decide whether to grant a temporary injunction against Abbott’s order, which would put it on hold while the lawsuit goes to trial. After an all-day court hearing in which various local officials and one parent testified, Arteaga granted San Antonio and Bexar County its request for a temporary injunction. The ruling was likely to be appealed by the state.

“My thoughts continue to be with those children in our schools who don’t have access to the vaccine but must attend school, coupled with the dire situation right here in Bexar County,” Arteaga said.

A school district in West Texas announced Monday it would close, without virtual or remote learning, for two weeks due to COVID-19.

This school year, the Texas Education Agency does not require school districts to conduct contact tracing or notify parents if their student is in close contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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