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Fort Worth ISD board votes to require face masks if court rules in district's favor

That next hearing is Sept. 3. Fort Worth ISD's mask requirement could be in place Tuesday, Sept. 7, if the court rules in their favor

FORT WORTH, Texas — The Fort Worth ISD board voted 8-0 Thursday night to require masks for all students and staff in schools, but it will not be enforced until a court case that the district is involved with will be resolved.

The district wants to be in compliance with a local judge's temporary restraining orders. That next hearing is Friday, Sept. 3, meaning the earliest that Fort Worth ISD's mask requirement could be in place is Tuesday, Sept. 7 after Labor Day, if the court rules in the district's favor.

Fort Worth ISD previously required face masks, but a district court judge ruled in favor of a group of parents, blocking the district's face mask requirement.

Fort Worth ISD Superintendent Kent Scribner told WFAA Thursday that he received another letter today from Cook Children's, saying their emergency room is overwhelmed. The letter was signed by 292 pediatricians asking for masks in schools.

“Our community and this board has directed me to implement a mandate as soon as it is legally feasible," Scribner said.

The district joined a lawsuit originally filed by La Joya ISD in Travis County.

Scribner said the mask requirement will be the best thing to keep kids safe and keep kids in school.

"We want to have in-person instruction, but we want our schools to remain open," Scribner said. "And the only way we can do that we believe is with great protocols, safety protocols, social distancing, hand sanitizing, cleaning, and a mask requirement."

The Texas Supreme Court rejected Attorney General Ken Paxton's request to stay three temporary restraining orders (TROs) allowing mask mandates by a Travis County judge. The court ruled against Paxton on a technicality, saying his request didn't go through an appeals court first.

That is the same suit that Richardson ISD voted earlier this week to join. The lawsuit says that Gov. Greg Abbott exceeded his authority to limit the rights of school districts to establish necessary safety measures.

The Texas Education Agency told districts on Aug. 19 that the governor's ban on face mask mandates "is not being enforced," according to the updated guidance. Many larger districts are resisting Abbott's order and requiring masks.

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