Appeals court sides with Round Rock ISD, allowing its mask mandate to continue

Education

ROUND ROCK, Texas (KXAN) — The Round Rock ISD mask mandate is back in place after it was previously blocked by a Williamson County judge on Thursday.

A Williamson County judge issued an order temporarily blocking enforcement of the district’s mask mandate Thursday evening. But on Friday, the district announced the Third Court of Appeals issued a hold on the temporary restraining order, meaning Round Rock ISD can keep its mask mandate in place.

The district on Thursday night claimed it hadn’t been notified of any request from the Texas Attorney General’s Office and hadn’t been served to date — thus its legal counsel didn’t get the chance to be at any court proceeding.

AG Ken Paxton announced lawsuits against six school districts last week, including RRISD, over mask rules. Another local district included in that announcement that’s also being sued is Elgin ISD in Bastrop County.

Mask mandates and COVID-19 protocols aren’t just a legal battle in court for Round Rock ISD. The hot button issue was taken up in a school board meeting Tuesday, which had to be cut short because of repeated disruptions.

Community members were upset they were not allowed into the main meeting room but instead had to watch from an overflow room due to social distancing.

The board had initially scheduled a follow-up meeting regarding the mask mandate to take place on Saturday, Sept. 18. On Thursday, a board member said the meeting was rescheduled to Sept. 22.

In a letter to parents, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Hafedh Azaiez said the meeting was rescheduled to Sept. 22, because it “was the earliest possible opportunity.”

Azaiez said he plans on asking trustees to approve a recommendation that would connect the district’s mask requirements with risk stages determined by the Williamson and Travis County health authorities. If approved, the mask mandate would be in place while counties were in Stages 4 and 5.

RRISD plans to have a board meeting Wednesday to attempt to discuss its mask mandate again and whether or not to extend it. The current mandate is set to expire at 11:59 p.m. on Sept. 17.

“In the meantime, Round Rock ISD asks staff, students, and visitors to continue wearing masks inside District facilities when at least six feet of distance can not be maintained,” the district said in a release.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Austin-Travis County

Tracking the Coronavirus

Coronavirus Cases Tracker

Latest Central Texas COVID-19 Cases

Trending Stories

Don't Miss