Just one week after welcoming students back for the new school year, officials with Longview Independent School District have decided to enact a mandatory mask mandate for their schools.  Longview joins a growing list of school districts in Texas that are requiring students, staff and visitors to wear face coverings due to the acceleration of positive COVID-19 cases throughout the state.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott had recently ordered school districts to not put mandatory mask mandates in place.  Several school districts including several in the Houston, Austin and D/FW area defied the order by putting mandates in place.  One school district (Paris ISD) circumvented the Governor's order by making the masks part of the school dress code. Most recently, the Texas Supreme Court issued a ruling in which it declined to back Governor Abbott's order on banning mask mandates.  This, no doubt, has opened the door for some school districts to take the step to issue the mask mandates.

In a post on the Longview ISD Facebook Page and Website, they cite the current surge in COVID-19 cases in their district and surrounding community that lead to the decision to institute the mask mandate which will begin on Monday, August 23. All students, staff and visitors to Longview ISD must wear face coverings at district facilities.

"The number of known COVID-19 cases among students and staff at Longview ISD are currently higher than last year and positive cases continue to emerge at an alarming rate."

Administrators at Longview ISD emphasize that the safety of their students and staff is their first priority. Officials point out that during a similar wave in the previous school year, wearing masks along with frequent hand washing and social distancing worked well in keeping COVID-19 under control in the district.  It is their hope that the same measures will deliver positive results this year.

As of this posting, no other schools in Deep East Texas have issued a mandatory mask policy, however, school districts such as Lufkin ISD have indicated that they are considering a mandate as an option.


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