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The Paris school district found a loophole in Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order preventing mask mandates across the state.
Paris ISD’s board of trustees voted to alter the district’s dress code to include masks, according to its website.
The school district, which is located about 100 miles northeast of Dallas, has nearly 4,000 students across eight campuses, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
“The Texas Governor does not have the authority to usurp the Board of Trustees’ exclusive power and duty to govern and oversee the management of the public schools of the district,” Paris ISD said in a release posted on its website. “Nothing in the Governor’s Executive Order 38 states he has suspended Chapter 11 of the Texas Education Code, and therefore the Board has elected to amend its dress code consistent with its statutory authority.”
Abbott announced his executive order last month that prohibits any “government entity, including a county, city, school district and public health authority” and “any public or private entity that is receiving or will receive public funds” from enforcing mask or vaccine mandates.
Violations could lead to fines of up to $1,000. Private businesses, however, have the right to require customers and employees to wear masks.
Abbott announced Tuesday afternoon that he has contracted COVID-19, although he is so far asymptomatic, according to his spokesman.
“The Board of Trustees is concerned about the health and safety of its students and employees,” the Paris ISD release says. “The Board believes the dress code can be used to mitigate communicable health issues, and therefore has amended the PISD dress code to protect our students and employees.”