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In latest development in mask mandate fight, Fort Worth ISD gets a win

A judge with the Second Appellate District of Texas in Fort Worth on Sept. 9 sided with the school district - opening the door for Fort Worth ISD to require masks.

FORT WORTH, Texas — The Fort Worth Independent School District has been granted a victory in the back-and-forth fight over whether it can mandate masks in its schools.

Last Friday, Sept. 3, the 141st district court in Tarrant County sided with a group of parents who filed a lawsuit against the school district over its mask requirement, issuing a temporary injunction. That injunction barred the school district from proceeding with a mask mandate until the case went to trial in January 2022. 

However, the school district appealed that decision, pushing the case into the second court of appeals. That's where a judge with the Second Appellate District of Texas in Fort Worth on Sept. 9 sided with the school district - opening the door for Fort Worth ISD to again require masks while waiting for the case to go to trial.

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In addition, the school district was part of a suit in Travis County that challenged the governor's ban on mask mandates. The decision in that suit was favorable to school districts. 

As such, the school district announced that it would once again begin requiring masks indoors for all staff, parents, students and visitors starting Monday, Sept. 13, absent a medical exemption. The school district added the decision to wear a mask at outdoor activities and events is up to the individual.

"At this time there are no court orders or executive orders that are prohibiting the District from implementing a mask requirement," Fort Worth ISD officials said.

Fort Worth ISD will enforce the mask mandate under a resolution passed on Aug. 26 by the district's board of trustees. Among the stipulations for the resolution is that the superintendent reviews the need for masks monthly - using CDC guidelines, medical guidelines, and local hospital capacity - to determine whether the need for masks still exists.