EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — After a meeting adjourned over mask mandates at El Paso and Socorro Independent School Districts on Tuesday, a decision was made in favor of mask requirements on school grounds for any indoor activity.
As it pertains to athletics, El Paso ISD officials tell KTSM that the mask mandate will include high school volleyball games and practices. Volleyball is the only fall sport played indoors. According to a spokesperson with EPISD, anyone entering an on-campus gymnasium will be required to wear a face covering, including coaches, players, officials and spectators.
Socorro ISD athletic director J.J. Calderon provided the following statement to KTSM on Wednesday:
“We are following the health order as issued by the El Paso Department of Public Health. The order imposes a universal requirement for face coverings to be worn covering the nose and mouth in all indoor locations. It also provided that the face covering requirement does not apply to any person while the person is (a) exercising or engaging in physical activity indoors, in a gym or exercise facility, individually or in a group and (b) maintaining a safe distance from other people.”
Executive Order GA-38 prohibits government entities, including school districts, from mandating masks in schools. However, several counties across Texas have defied the order and implemented their own policies, following up with legal battles against the state.
This comes a day after El Paso City-County Health Authority, Dr. Hector Ocaranza, told City Council he was planning to implement a countywide mask mandate for indoor areas — including schools — in El Paso. City Council voted 5-3 to file a lawsuit against Abbott that would support local protective measures.
Dallas County had issued mandates covering public schools, colleges, businesses and many government buildings. On Sunday night, the Texas Supreme Court sided with the governor by temporarily striking down mask mandates in Dallas and Bexar counties.