New Abbott executive order bans local mask, vaccine requirements
Date Posted: 7/29/2021 | Author: Mark Wiggins
In a new executive order issued Thursday, July 29, 2021, Texas Governor Greg Abbott seeks to ban local cities, counties, and school districts from requiring masks or COVID-19 immunizations.
Executive order GA-38 supersedes all of the Governor’s previous orders related to the COVID-19 pandemic, including an earlier executive order that allowed counties with a COVID-19 hospitalization rate above 15% to implement mitigation strategies.
As the highly contagious Delta variant has driven the hospitalization rate above 13% in several counties, the Governor’s new directive prohibits previous mitigation strategies such as requiring masks and limiting business occupancy. In addition, businesses receiving public funds may not require masks or proof of immunization in order to enter a building or receive a service.
Health care providers warn the current surge has led to a “staggering and frightening” increase in the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations. As of Tuesday, hospitalizations had increased by 1,726 patients compared to the previous week. Wednesday alone saw 10,086 new confirmed cases and 2,811 new suspected cases.
In response to new recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, ATPE released a statement Wednesday emphasizing the importance of local control and urging Gov. Abbott to trust local school districts to determine their own mitigation protocols based on individual community needs.
“From the very beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, ATPE has called for state leaders to empower school districts and local health officials to do what is best for their communities,” said ATPE Executive Director Shannon Holmes. “In light of the CDC recommendations, ATPE is urging Gov. Abbott to give them the authority do what is right for them, whatever that may be.”
Thursday’s release of the new executive order signals that Gov. Abbott is once again doubling down on his refusal to allow local decision-making around COVID-19 protocols.
RECOMMENDED FOR YOU
Texas Legislature, Congress | Federal, COVID-19, Curriculum | Instruction, TEA | Commissioner | SBOE, School Safety, Educator Compensation | Benefits, Testing | Accountability
The ATPE Governmental Relations team recaps the past week’s education news, legislative and election updates, and regulatory developments.
It’s December! As ATPE gears up to fight for public education in the Texas legislative session starting next month, we’re also pushing Congress to pass an important bill before its session ends.
Retirement | TRS | Social Security, Congress | Federal
ATPE and retiree groups are urging Congressional leaders to complete negotiations by the end of 2022 on a deal to fix the Windfall Elimination Provision.