Huntsville ISD recommends mask use but reject mandate

Photo courtesy of Scott Morris

The Huntsville ISD Board of Trustees still recommends wearing face coverings but rejects a mask mandate proposed by board member Dr. Karin Williams on a meeting that occurred on Sept. 16 at the Hawkins Administration Building in Huntsville, Texas.

A mask mandate would violate Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order GA-38, which would prohibit school districts from requiring the COVID-19 prevention measure.

 “The process in this country for dealing with bad laws is challenging those laws through appropriate channels like this and in our court system,” Williams said. “Those challenges do not represent lawlessness. One hundred and eight school districts and more across the state of Texas have already taken similar actions.”

Superintendent of Huntsville ISD Scott Sheppard addressed the communities’ concerns about COVID-19 and how they will handle their policy for face coverings.

“As for tonight’s agenda item, I cannot recommend we take action that violates current state law as such (the current) administration recommends we continue voluntary masks at this time rather than enforcing a mask mandate at this time,” Sheppard said.

Some parents do not want the mask mandate to happen at all, as they worry about lack of social development and health concerns over-breathing in carbon dioxide.

The World Health Organization does recommend masks to be worn by children ages 6-11 with careful supervision and standard mask-wearing ages 12 and up.

Other school districts around Texas are requiring students to wear face masks as a safety precaution to prevent the spread of COVID. Big school districts such as Houston, Aldine, Austin and more are still requiring mask use in the classroom in defiance of Gov. Abbott’s order, according to their district websites.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed several lawsuits against those school districts over the mask policies, according to the Texas Tribune.

Despite the controversial political battle over COVID-19 precautions, Shelley Akins, a parent of a student at Huntsville ISD, urged compromise.

“This is a prime example of how society must agree to disagree and tolerate the decisions of others whether regardless of whether it coincides or not,” Akins said.

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