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Fort Worth ISD will require masks when school starts next week, superintendent says

Superintendent Kent Scribner made the announcement at a school board meeting Tuesday night.

FORT WORTH, Texas — Updated at 8:30 p.m. with quotes from parents at the school board meeting.

Fort Worth ISD will join Dallas ISD and Austin ISD in requiring masks when the district goes back to school, superintendent Kent Scribner said at a school board meeting Tuesday night.

This guidance goes against Gov. Greg Abbott's executive order regarding mask mandates in schools. Abbott banned districts from requiring masks, but pediatric hospitalizations in North Texas set a record high Tuesday before students have returned to campuses.

The CDC recommends all students wear masks.

RELATED: 'This is preventable': Dallas County reports 3,270 new COVID-19 cases over 3 days

Scribner said he directed staff to add required masks to back-to-school guidance after receiving a letter from 120 Cook Children's physicians sharing concerns about what the school year would be like without masks.

The first day of school is Monday, Aug. 16.

About 20 people spoke at the school board meeting Tuesday, all in support of a mask mandate.

“You still have an opportunity to do what’s right. You have a moral obligation and the legal authority. Other districts have already lead the way," parent Max Krochmal said.

Ernie Moran, a parent and a teacher in the district, said the parents were "starving for leadership" from local, county and state officials,

"The current guidelines from TEA and Governor Abbott fly in the face of science, common sense and human decency.”

Earlier this week, the parents of 12 children in Dallas County filed a lawsuit Monday against Gov. Greg Abbott, asking a court to rule on his ban on mask mandates.

The counter-plaintiffs added to Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins's court filing, asking a district court to rule on whether he can require face coverings and overrule Abbott's ban. Currently, most governmental entities can't require face masks under Abbott's order. 

Dallas ISD and Austin ISD have already announced they will be requiring masks in schools.

Earlier Tuesday, a Bexar County judge issued a temporary restraining order against the state, allowing public school officials in the San Antonio area to issue mask-wearing mandates.

Houston ISD is set to vote on masks later this week. Masking has quickly become a trend in some of Texas’ largest districts.

“The solution may not be the popular one, but it is the right one. I implore you to do what science demands and require all unvaccinated individuals to require masks, parent Erin Bhaka said in Fort Worth Tuesday night.

“You can stop the nightmare. You can answer the prayer for safety. Your plan is optional masking which is ineffective. If masking is optional, then COVID is inevitable," parent Alex Vorse said.

This is a developing story. Download our free WFAA app to stay up-to-date on all news stories in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.