Texas school board adds masks to dress code to get around ban

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A school board in Texas has added masks to their dress code – seemingly circumventing Governor Greg Abbott's ban on new COVID-19 restrictions. Face coverings are now part of the dress code for students in the the Paris Independent School District.

In a statement about its amended dress code, the school district board said it believes the “dress code can be used to mitigate communicable health issues, and therefore has amended the PISD dress code to protect our students and employees.”

“The Texas Governor does not have the authority to usurp the Board of Trustees' exclusive power and duty to govern and oversee the management of the public schools of the district,” the statement reads. “Nothing in the Governor's Executive Order 38 states he has suspended Chapter 11 of the Texas Education Code, and therefore the Board has elected to amend its dress code consistent with its statutory authority.”

Abbott, who tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday, recently banned local governments from putting COVID-19 restrictions back in place and has challenged local school districts that have tried to institute mask mandates. 

Still, at least 21 Texas school districts vowed to defy the governor and require masks, according to CBS Dallas-Fort Worth. On Sunday, the Texas Supreme Court temporarily ruled mask mandates in Dallas and San Antonio could not be enforced, CBS Austin reports.

In Florida, where Governor Ron DeSantis also banned schools from requiring masks, several districts have gone against the order to do so. DeSantis has threatened a possible loss of funding, removal of local officials and further action from the state legislature for districts that go against his order.

Adding facial coverings to dress codes could be a loophole to the governors' bans. 

The Paris school district dress code states students are not allowed to show their midriffs, wear hats, short skirts and sagging pants among other revealing clothing items. Now the dress code also denotes that “for health reasons masks are currently required for all employees and students to mitigate flu, cold, pandemic, and any other communicable diseases.”

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