FORT WORTH, Texas - After hearing passionate comments from parents both for and against mask mandates, the Fort Worth ISD board voted to join other school districts suing the governor and the state over his executive order banning mask mandates.
It comes after the district's initial mask plan was halted by a court judgment.
While the legal battle plays out, masks in Fort Worth ISD are optional but strongly encouraged.
With masks optional, some parents are begging for the district to change their mind and implement a mandate.
Other parents say it should continue to be their choice.
"I would like a mask mandate in order for my son to go safely to his school that he has been going to since kindergarten," one parent said.
"Have we really sunk so law as a society that people aren’t willing to have the smallest inconvenience to save our children?" another parent said.
"Those of us who choose not to wear a mask should not be forced to do something that we don’t believe in," another person said.
At last week’s board meeting, Fort Worth ISD Superintendent Dr. Kent Scribner issued a mask mandate after he was encouraged by doctors. More than 100 doctors signed a letter to the district pleading for a mask mandate.
But the mandate was held up by a legal challenge from some parents.
Tuesday, Cook Children’s in Fort Worth revealed 28 children are currently fighting COVID-19 in the hospital. That’s up from 25 on Monday.
Pediatrician Dr. Jason Trek with Cook Children's says he continues to see an increase in pediatric patients. He expects to see more kids admitted with school starting.
"We are 18 months into this. We have a lot of tired, worn-out healthcare workers who are going to continue to be here and serve our patients," he said. "The best thing people can do to brave this pandemic is get vaccinated and stay masked."
According to the DFW Hospital council, pediatric patient bed capacity is at 93% and two staffed pediatric ICU beds are available.