‘This office will pursue further legal action’: Texas AG’s office sends letter to Diboll ISD about mask mandate

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DIBOLL, Texas (KETK) – The Texas Attorney General’s Office sent a letter to Diboll ISD about their mask mandate.

According to a release from the AG’s office, they sent letters to Diboll, Longview, Lufkin and more districts with mandates in place.

The letter sent Sept. 7 states that the mask mandate exceeds the district’s authority since Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order that no governmental entity can require anyone to wear face coverings.

The letter asks the district to rescind their policy about masks in schools or not enforce the policy pending the Texas Supreme Court’s disposition of the cases involving this issue.

“Otherwise, you face potential legal action brought by this office,” the letter said.

Diboll ISD Superintendent Vicki Thomas provided a statement to KETK, stating that it is their goal to “keep our campus doors open as our students need a year of uninterrupted face-to-face education.”

Several other local school districts have had to temporarily close their doors this school year due to COVID-19 outbreaks.

Thomas outlined other measures the district is taking to mitigate COVID-19.

Diboll ISD continuously is monitoring the number of cases among staff and students as well as remaining in close contact with the Department of Health and Human Services related to county and area risk levels.  We have implemented a multi-layered COVID -19 mitigation response that includes testing of symptomatic staff and students, with parent permission.  In addition, we offer staff testing on-demand daily and close contact testing Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays at the administration building from 6:00 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. so that staff can test prior to reporting to work. We also test each Sunday from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. for those individuals who become symptomatic over the weekend.  In addition, we practice social distancing and best practices related to hand washing and hand sanitizing.  Our schools are deep cleaned and sanitized nightly as well as sanitized throughout the school day.  We do require masks as one piece of a very strategic and layered approach to the commitment of keeping our students and staff safe. Our goal is to keep our campus doors open as our students need a year of uninterrupted face-to-face education.

Diboll ISD Superintendent Vicki Thomas

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has been vocal about mask mandates in schools, threatening legal action through letters and on social media.

He tweeted Tuesday that lawsuits are coming against ISDs this week.

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