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El Paso mayor, county judge urge Abbott to allow schools to mandate masks

EL PASO, Texas -- El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser and County Judge Ricardo Samaniego sent a letter to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Wednesday, imploring him to allow local school districts the authority to implement face mask mandates if they so choose.

In the letter, the pair said local districts should be able "to decide face mask requirements based on local needs to protect the youngest among us."

Lesser and Samaniego said the need for such decision-making to occur at the local level was "urgent" given that the "very contagious Delta variant is among us." El Paso recently confirmed three cases of that variant.

The El Paso leaders cited recent U.S. Centers for Disease Control guidance recommending mask wearing in schools in their request to the governor. The CDC "has placed schools as areas of high risk of Covid-19 transmission," the pair wrote, adding that with children under 12 unable to currently receive the vaccine, face masks seemed a reasonable protection option.

The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Texas Medical Association have also endorsed the wearing of masks by school children, teachers and staff. But Abbott has stood firm in recent times on his statewide order banning schools from requiring masks.

Lesser and Samaniego indicated their request had the overwhelming support of El Paso-area educators.

There was no immediate response from the governor's office to the letter, which you can read below in its entirety.

Coronavirus / El Paso / Health / Local News / News / Texas / Texas Politics / Top Stories / Video

Jim Parker

Jim Parker is the Director of Digital Content for ABC-7.



  1. Masks don’t work. Children are a minute’ percentage of COVID infections and even less for deaths from all COVID strains. Even the children caged by Joe Crow biden at Ft. Bliss are sick but not dying. Inadequate cages you say? Of course. Blame that on Joe Crow.

  2. As a former school administrator I’ve done a lot of research on this. Closing schools and mandating masks was the worst thing we could have done. The emotional and physical damage that was done is significant. If we had allowed kids to be exposed to the Alpha variant, some might have gotten COVID with little to no symptoms and no ill effects but we would be at herd immunity by now. NOW all we’ve done is suppressed their immune system and allowed the virus to mutate while putting students over a year behind. Stupid.

  3. The big question is how many kids have caught the delta variant? Have any died from it? Any regular covid deaths? ………crickets?

  4. And meanwhile the Southern border is still wide open and thousands of unmasked, unvaccinated illegals flow across daily. But I or my family are under threat to wear a mask and get the vax. Yeah, that makes sense.

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