EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — Board members for the Socorro Independent School District, one of El Paso’s largest school districts, will discuss mask policies in SISD schools during Tuesday’s Special Meeting.
The agenda item for Tuesday’s meeting states: “Discussion and possible action regarding mask policies for all students and personnel in SISD.”
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.
“We want to make sure we make a decision that is something that will protect our district first and foremost,” Morales said.
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.
On Monday, some of Texas’ largest school districts announced they were going to require masks despite the governor’s orders. Those include the Dallas Independent School District and Houston Independent School District Superintendent Millard House said they were considering it.
Morales said, “At this point, everything is on the table.”
The board president said they needed to take the governor’s executive order into consideration and weigh all factors, including what they can do legally.
“The most important factor would be the safety of our children and our entire district and the other factor would be we would have to get the legal counsel involved to make sure as a board we make the proper decision,” Morales said.
Veronica Hernandez, president of the Socorro American Federation of Teachers, said with vaccines unavailable for students under 12 years old, teachers are worried about their health and safety.
“I am hoping they listen to the science and take safety first and I hope they listen to the teachers,” Hernandez said. “We did a survey not that long ago across the state and 78 percent of our employees feel we should mandate masks.”
SISD’s board meeting is at 6 p.m. on Tuesday in the District Service Center Board Room at SISD Headquarters.