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Arlington ISD considers filing lawsuit over Gov. Abbott's mask order

According to the district, the legal action being drafted will be reviewed at the Arlington ISD board meeting on Thursday, Aug. 19.

ARLINGTON, Texas — Arlington ISD officials say they are considering filing a lawsuit against Gov. Greg Abbott's executive order prohibiting school districts from requiring masks.

The district made the announcement on Friday after they canceled a scheduled emergency meeting.

According to the district, the legal action being drafted by the district's attorneys will be reviewed at the Arlington ISD board meeting on Thursday, Aug. 19.  

"We are advocating to put the decision to mandate masks back into the hands of our district," said Kecia Mays, president of Arlington ISD's Board of Trustees. 

"We are in a community with a high rate of COVID-19. The positivity rate is over 22%. No ICU beds are available for pediatric patients," Mays listed. "We have to implement every mitigation effort to slow the spread of COVID-19, and one of the tools we have – the mask – has been taken away as an option to mandate.”

Additionally, the district said the board will hear a recommendation to offer a virtual learning option for students in pre-K through 6th grade since students in that age group cannot be vaccinated at this time.

In the meantime, the district is urging all students, staff and visitors to come to school on Monday with a mask. 

"I strongly encourage all students, staff and visitors to wear a mask while at our campuses and on the bus," Superintendent Dr. Marcelo Cavazos said. "We know it's the best way to protect ourselves and each other from COVID-19."

The development comes as new reports emerged that there were no more staffed pediatric ICU beds in all of North Texas, thanks to the spread of COVID and increasing cases of RSV, another respiratory virus that impacts children. 

Several districts and county leaders have also back into the hands of our district,", in defiance of the governor's executive order banning local entities' ability to implement masks.