PFLUGERVILLE, Texas (KXAN) — The Pflugerville Independent School District is choosing to not mandate masks under new orders from the City of Austin and Travis County.
On Wednesday, the city and county passed orders mandating masks in public schools and in city/county buildings. The orders were issued against the will of Gov. Greg Abbott, who issued his own order earlier this year barring local officials, including school districts, from requiring face coverings.
Pflugerville ISD said it doesn’t think the city and county orders can stand against the state’s.
“…we have received legal guidance that the order may be without authority,” Pflugerville ISD Superintendent Doug Killian said in an alert to families.
The district said it does, however, highly encourage masks and vaccinations to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19. The superintendent said he doesn’t want students or staff members to become “political pawns in the game between our local and state officials.”
Killian also explained in the alert he didn’t want to mandate masks, because he fears that could polarize students, and schools could see an increase in the number of mask-less people on campuses as a result.
“I suspect that if we try to defy the Governor, we could increase the number of mask-less people on our campuses who would be challenging us for challenging the Governor,” he said.
The district is continuing to work with its legal team and will be watching what plays out in court regarding the mask mandates.
Pflugerville ISD starts school Thursday.
The Austin Independent School District announced earlier this week it will require masks on campuses and in district offices beginning Wednesday.