greg abbott texas
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.
Reuters/Lucas Jackson
  • Dallas Independent School District will require masks across its campuses beginning Tuesday.
  • The mandate is in direct defiance to a May order by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott prohibiting schools from requiring masks.
  • The move comes amid a surge in coronavirus cases in North Texas and throughout the state.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Dallas Independent School District will require students and teachers to wear masks at its campuses starting Tuesday in defiance of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's order barring schools from issuing mask mandates, The Dallas Morning News reported.

Superintendent Michael Hinojosa announced the decision during a press conference Monday and said it was his job to ensure the safety of the district's students and teachers, the Morning News reported.

Dallas is the state's first district to go against the governor's order, though Houston is also considering making the same move, according to the report.

The report said that while young students remain ineligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, school officials believe the mask mandate is necessary amid a surge in Delta variant cases.

"Requiring masks for staff and students while on district property is a reasonable and necessary safety protocol to protect against the spread of COVID-19 and the new delta variant," said Ben Mackey, Dallas' board president, in a statement.

Some parents and teachers have urged Abbott to let local officials make the call about mask mandates and decide what's best for their own communities as the majority of students gear up to return to class on August 16, according to the report.

Abbott's May order barring school districts from issuing mask mandates included a potential $1,000 fine if an entity defies the order.

In the order, he said public school students, teachers, parents, and staff were required to wear masks until June 4, after which the requirement would be prohibited.

According to The New York Times, Texas is averaging nearly 14,000 new daily coronavirus cases, up from a little over 1,000-per-day back in early July. Cases are also rising among children in Texas.

The Dallas-Forth Worth Hospital Council said last week that the number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in North Texas has exceeded last summer's high point, even before vaccines were available, according to the Morning News.

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