Grayson Co. leaders react to Texas ending most mask mandates

Updated: May. 18, 2021 at 9:39 PM CDT
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GRAYSON COUNTY, Texas (KXII) - Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said Tuesday that public schools must end mask requirements starting in June and ordered Texas’ cities and counties to drop nearly all face covering mandates by the end of the week.

The announcement does not affect businesses, which can still require customers or workers to wear masks. But the change amounts to the biggest rollbacks of Texas’ COVID-19 safeguards since Abbott ended a statewide mask mandate in March.

The move comes as virus cases and deaths continue plunging in Texas, and as the COVID-19 vaccine is now available to children as young as 12 years old. Public hospitals, jails and state-supported living centers will still be allowed to require masks.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week said people who are fully vaccinated no longer need to wear a mask indoors or outdoors and can stop social distancing in most places. Masks are still recommended for the remainder of the school year, but Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the CDC director, said on “Fox News Sunday” that her agency is working on guidance for the fall.

Some Texas school have already ended mask mandates. The Texas State Teachers Association criticized Abbott’s decision as premature.

“I would hope it’d be more of a local decision, local school districts and not a state mandate, that would be my preference,” Denison ISD Superintendent Henry Scott said.

Scott said his district will comply, and won’t be requiring masks for the next school year.

“I”m surprised that he put a thousand dollar fine on anybody that violated the order. That really surprised me,” Scott said.

Scott said Denison ISD hasn’t had any serious COVID-19 illnesses among the students and he feels like students will be safe for the next school year.

Grayson County Judge Bill Magers said the COVID-19 numbers have gone down and that this executive order isn’t anything new. Grayson County never had a mask mandate.

“From our perspective it’s really a non-event, if someone chooses to wear a mask in the court house by all means they are allowed to but it’s not required,” Magers said.

Judge Magers said it’s more of a personal preference if people wear masks or not.

“I’m going to follow the Governor’s directions whenever he issues them and so I’ll leave it in his hands what to decides what he sees is appropriate,” Magers said.

Some exceptions to the governor’s executive order include hospitals, state operated long term living facilities, or prisons and jails. All of those places are still allowed to require you to wear a mask.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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