Socorro ISD school board takes no action on mask policy

Local

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — The Socorro Independent School District Board of Trustees took no action on changing mask policies during Tuesday night’s meeting.

The SISD school board discussed mask policies during the special meeting after the Dallas and Austin Independent School Districts made face coverings mandatory on district property earlier in the day.

Trustees did not make a motion to change the mask policy at the district after consulting with attorneys for 45 minutes in executive session, which are discussions held out of public view.

Board President David Morales, who is listed as the presenter for the agenda item, said board members brought up the concern for safety in schools as the COVID-19 Delta variant is now spreading in El Paso.

As KTSM 9 News previously reported, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order issued in May prohibits local governmental entities — including school districts — from enforcing any mask requirements. But school districts, including Dallas and Austin, have taken stances defying the governor’s orders.

Morales said El Paso Health Authority Hector Ocaranza was initially invited to speak during Tuesday’s meeting.

But since he was not added to the agenda, he was not going to be able to speak, a city spokesman said.

“He expects that he will be able to give his presentation at a future meeting,” the spokeswoman said.

Parents, teachers and community members spoke during public comment at the meeting, some in approval of a mask mandate and others against it, saying they had the right to choose to send their children to school with a mask or not.

Pablo Barrera, Board trustee for District 5, said he wanted to do what was best for the safety of all children.

“I would be okay with a parent saying they don’t agree with the mandate, but I am not okay with a parent saying ‘what could you have done better to protect my child?'” Barrera said.

Morales said they were considering sending out parent surveys starting Wednesday to gather more input from the community. He said a decision was coming soon, however, added they planned to call another meeting with the same topic on the agenda next Tuesday.

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