UPDATE, Aug. 19: The Ysleta Independent School District will now join Anthony, Canutillo, El Paso and Socorro ISDs in complying with the El Paso City-County Health Authority’s mask mandate for all indoor facilities, including schools.
YISD officials made the announcement in a statement Thursday evening, citing this week's court ruling that said the Health Authority was empowered to issue the mandate despite a conflicting order from Texas Gov. Greg Abbott that forbids schools from requiring masks.
"In light of the local Temporary Restraining Order blocking the Governor’s Executive Order and after receiving guidance from our attorneys, the Ysleta Independent School District will now require that all YISD employees, students, parents, and visitors comply with the Local Health Authority mask mandate while at district facilities, so long as such order or similar order is lawfully in effect and enforceable," the YISD statement said.
ORIGINAL REPORT, Aug. 18: CANUTILLO, Texas -- Officials with the Anthony and Canutillo independent school districts announced Wednesday that their districts would join others in El Paso County in complying with the City-County Health Authority’s mask mandate for all indoor facilities, including schools.
Canutillo ISD administrators said its district would begin following the mask mandate effective Thursday and planned to continue following it as long as Health Authority Dr. Hector Ocaranza's order remains in place.
Meantime, the Anthony ISD Board of Trustees voted Wednesday night to require students, employees and visitors to wear a face mask in all district facilities in alignment with Ocaranza's order as of Thursday and until further notice.
Anthony and Canutillo join the El Paso and Socorro ISDs in saying they will enforce the masking requirement. The EPISD and SISD boards ratified support for the mask rule during meetings on Tuesday night.
RELATED STORY: EPISD, SISD get ready to implement school mask rules
In a statement, Canutillo ISD said its decision was based, in part, on County Court at Law Judge Ruben Morales ruling late Tuesday night saying Ocaranza had the power under state law to issue such an order - and upholding its validity.
In a separate development, Ysleta Independent School District administrators said Wednesday that they had "made all district employees and families aware" of the Health Authority's mask mandate, but they didn't address the issue of the district's compliance efforts.
"The Ysleta Board of Trustees will continue to seek legal advice regarding its path forward considering these various orders," a statement from the YISD administration said in a reference to a conflicting order from Texas Gov. Greg Abbott that forbids schools from requiring masks.