AUSTIN (Texas Tribune) — The Texas Supreme Court temporarily blocked San Antonio’s mask mandate for public schools Thursday — the latest in the tug-of-war legal battle between local governments and the state’s Republican leadership over mandatory face coverings.

The state’s highest civil court put the mandate by officials in San Antonio and Bexar County on pause, overriding a ruling a week ago by the 4th Court of Appeals — which had cleared the way for officials to compel students, teachers, school staff and visitors at K-12 public schools to wear masks.

The appeals court upheld an earlier ruling by a lower court judge that blocked Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order banning local mask mandates and allowed local officials to reinstate a mandate that state Supreme Court justices put on hold the week before.

Abbott and the state are embroiled in multiple legal battles with cities, counties and school districts in the state’s urban areas over mask mandates.

On Wednesday, a state district judge in Dallas sided with Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins in his bid to enact his own mask mandate for public schools, colleges and businesses — in defiance of Abbott.

Soon after, Attorney General Ken Paxton appealed the ruling — temporarily making the mask mandate unenforceable. 

This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at The Texas Tribune is a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans – and engages with them – about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.