Parents react to Paris ISD face mask requirement

Published: Aug. 19, 2021 at 4:13 PM CDT
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PARIS, Texas (KXII) - Thursday morning, almost 4,000 students walked into classrooms at Paris ISD, ready to learn after the school board voted to change its dress code to require masks to circumvent Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s orders against mask mandates.

Ashlyn Petty dropped her kid off at school in Paris ISD for the first time and in the middle of a pandemic.

“I wish it was more of a normal first year, especially because I have a kindergartner, and this is kind of his first school experience,” said Petty.

As students head back to the classroom, schools are tackling how they’ll handle COVID-19.

Paris ISD is one of the districts challenging Governor Abbott’s order prohibiting mask mandates.

“I understand the district’s thought process behind it, and I think that they got the opinion of professionals in our medical community, and so I understand the reasoning behind it, and we’ll do whatever they say is safest for the kids,” said Petty.

The Paris School Board added masks to their dress code for all employees and students on Tuesday.

They said they have the right to do this because the Texas Education Code gives the board the authority to govern their district’s dress code.

“There are real people that are really losing their lives, and I don’t want to lose my kids over it [COVID-19], so I feel like it’s a good thing,” said Watkins.

Other politicians are firing back, including Ken Paxton, who said on his website that this isn’t a loophole in the system; it violates Governor Abbott’s executive order against mask mandates.

Some parents see it that way too.

“It’s teaching kids to break the rules,” said Swafford. “There was a mandate that was put out, and we found a loophole for it so, I don’t agree with trying to break the rules. Even though I don’t agree with it, I still carried a mask in and wore it. I’m going to abide by the rules, but at the same time, we need to abide by what the local rules are and what the state rules are.”

The district said that adding masks to the dress code is not permanent

They plan to reevaluate it every month.

On Thursday, the Texas Education Agency noted that mask mandate bans from Governor Abbott’s executive order will not be enforced because of an ongoing legal battle.

They also said districts must notify families, teachers, and staff if a positive COVID-19 test is confirmed in a classroom or extracurricular activity.

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