Abbott asks Texas Supreme Court to strike down ruling protecting San Antonio's school mask mandate

Masked students approach Thomas Edison High School. - FACEBOOK / SAN ANTONIO ISD
Facebook / San Antonio ISD
Masked students approach Thomas Edison High School.
After a motion filed by Gov. Greg Abbott, the Texas Supreme Court is once again expected to rule on San Antonio’s order requiring masks in public schools.

The request that the state's highest civil court strike down an appeals court ruling protecting San Antonio and Bexar County's mask rule is the latest move in a legal fight between Abbott and local officials over who has authority to make rules to contain a rising wave of COVID-19 infections.

A Thursday decision by the 4th Court of Appeals permitted San Antonio and Bexar County to continue requiring students, teachers and staff in public schools to wear masks on campus.

That ruling upheld an earlier one by a Bexar County state district judge slapping a temporary injunction on an order Abbott issued last month banning local officials from implementing mask mandates.

To date, roughly 70 Texas school districts have implemented mask mandates in violation of Abbott's order, according to the Texas Attorney General's Office. School officials maintain that without a mask requirement, students and staff will face unnecessary exposure to the highly transmissible delta variant.

In their court filings, San Antonio and Bexar County argue that the Texas Disaster Act gives the governor broad authority to respond to disasters but doesn't allow him to hamstring local officials as they try to protect residents.

If Abbott's motion is successful, the state would be able to pose financial penalties on local government officials who defy his order.

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