Mesquite ISD will continue to adhere to its current COVID-19 protocols for the time being, the district said Tuesday.
This comes in the wake of a Tuesday announcement from Gov. Greg Abbott stating that Executive Order GA-34, which goes into effect March 10, will rescind a statewide requirement for face coverings, in addition to allowing business to open at 100% capacity.
Abbott announced the mandate’s ending on Tuesday while addressing the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce.
"With the medical advancements of vaccines and antibody therapeutic drugs, Texas now has the tools to protect Texans from the virus,” Abbott said, according to a press release. "We must now do more to restore livelihoods and normalcy for Texans by opening Texas 100 percent. Make no mistake, COVID-19 has not disappeared, but it is clear from the recoveries, vaccinations, reduced hospitalizations, and safe practices that Texans are using that state mandates are no longer needed.”
In counties that are not in an area with high COVID-19 hospitalizations, individuals are “strongly encouraged” to wear face coverings over the nose and mouth wherever it is not feasible to maintain a social distance of six feet from someone not in the same household. However, nobody can be required by any jurisdiction to wear or mandate the wearing of a face covering, the order states.
MISD posted on social media Tuesday afternoon it will for now remain at its current safety level.
“Like all Texans, Mesquite ISD learned of Gov. Abbott’s mask announcement this afternoon,” the district stated. “We will continue with current safety protocols, including masks, while we await guidance from the Texas Education Agency on how public schools will proceed now that the governor has rescinded his order. Once we receive more information, we will communicate any changes with parents and staff.”
In a Wednesday statement, the Texas Education Agency said it had updated its public health guidance as a result of the lifted order on face coverings.
"Under this updated guidance, a public school system’s current practices on masks may continue unchanged," the agency stated. "Local school boards have full authority to determine their local mask policy."
This story has been updated to include a statement from the Texas Education Agency.