DESOTO, Texas - Mask mandates are still a thing for the DeSoto Independent School District – at least for now.
All DeSoto ISD students, teachers, staff members and visitors were required to wear face masks when they returned to school earlier this week.
The district said its mask requirement never ended and is still in place for the 2022-2023 school year because of the rising number of COVID-19 cases in Dallas County.
"Majority minority communities are most deeply impacted by matters of health, wellness, access, and income," DeSoto ISD Superintendent Dr. Usamah Rodgers said. "Given that Dallas County is currently on an Orange alert, and COVID cases continue to rise, the district’s stance on masks as a protection to our students, staff members, and families is a proactive approach to community wellness."
However, the number of new COVID-19 cases in Dallas County has been falling since there was a small spike in mid-July. The daily average on Friday was 420 – about 175 cases lower than a week ago.
DeSoto ISD said its board of trustees is planning to re-evaluate the mandate and could give the superintendent the power to relax or enforce it as needed.
An updated dress code policy that only strongly recommends masks and face coverings will also be presented to the board for consideration on Aug. 22.
While the mask mandate is in defiance of Gov. Greg Abbott’s ban on mask mandates in school, DeSoto ISD said it won a lawsuit granting the district the ability to enforce the use of masks.
In July, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the governor and dismissed another lawsuit that claimed the ban violated the Americans with Disabilities Act.