Abbott issued an emergency order last month in which he reiterated his ban against mask mandates by any government entity. However, federal agencies have required masks to be installed in their facilities. Governor Abbott and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said that they would sue any entity who does not comply with the emergency orders. This lawsuit has not been filed. Although the Texas Supreme Court upheld the ban in its entirety, it has not stopped many entities from imposing mask mandates.
After multiple court challenges by parents, advocates for disabled kids, local governments and school boards, the TEA guidance was issued. Abbott's ban aside, mask mandates have been implemented in seven counties and 48 school districts. Another judge from the state district court granted restraining orders for Harris County and several South Texas schools districts, which allow these entities to continue with their mask mandates. A second state district judge issued an order Thursday allowing Fort Bend County to allow mask-wearing in county buildings.
According to the Texas Department of State Health Services' most recent report, 829 students had tested positive for Covid-19 as of August 8. The Iraan Sheffield Independent School District of West Texas shut down its schools for two week Monday to allow students and staff to quarantine because of Covid-19.
As the number of Covid-19-related cases continued to rise in Texas, the push for social distancing and masking was evident. This is largely due to the highly contagious coronavirus delta variant. According to Johns Hopkins University research data, the average daily number of new cases in Texas for seven days was 16,000 as of Tuesday. This compares to 1,495 on June 30. State health officials said that Texas Covid-19 hospitalizations reached levels not seen since January, with 12,705 being admitted on Wednesday.
Abbott ordered the Texas Department of State Health Services (TDSHS) to import medical personnel from outside Texas to fill hospital beds, particularly in ICUs, as Texas hospitals continue to grow. He did not change his ban on masks.