SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) — San Antonio ISD is in hot water with the State of Texas over a recent decision to require teachers in the district to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
SAISD announced the move Monday to require masks on students and teachers and for all district employees to be vaccinated by October 15. Employees who have not had their first dose must do so by September 10 in order to be fully inoculated by the deadline set by the district.
Exemptions will be available for those with qualifying religious beliefs or medical conditions and Superintendent Pedro Martinez told the San Antonio Express-News that a discussion about “potential separation” will be had with those who refuse and are not exempt from the policy.
When asked about legal repercussions from the State, Martinez told the Express-News Monday that they are not a concern for him.
“To be honest, I’m not really worried about that, I’m just focused on our students,” Martinez said.
Executive order GA-38 by Texas Governor Greg Abbott on July 29 prohibits both mask mandates and mandatory COVID-19 vaccines.
The State of Texas filed a lawsuit in a Bexar County court today with both SAISD and Martinez listed as defendants in the case for “deliberately violating state law.”
The State argues the vaccine mandate, in violation of GA-83, undermines the state’s “need for a clear and consistent response to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
If the lawsuit swings in favor of the State, the vaccine mandate will be considered null and void via a temporary restraining order and injunction.
The State is arguing the ruling is urgently needed because employees will not be able to reverse the administration of the vaccine once the first dose is received.
This lawsuit is happening at the same time as the fight between San Antonio and Bexar County officials after a mask mandate was announced for schools and local government buildings last week.
The Texas Supreme Court nullified the local temporary restraining order related to mask mandates issued last week, but a temporary injunction granted Monday by a Bexar County district judge restored the order.
“In light of the ongoing court proceedings regarding the no-mask mandate [and] the proven need to require mask-wearing in schools, I will commit to starting a legal defense fund for school districts that choose to defy the Governor’s [Executive Order] that is being challenged,” Texas Senator José Menéndez said in a Tweet on Sunday night.
SAISD plans to keep its masking rules even if the court voids Metro Health’s order.
Northside ISD board of trustees voted Tuesday to implement a mask mandate and North East ISD will make considerations at a meeting tonight.
As of noon today, there are more than 15,500 active cases of COVID-19 in Bexar County. 82.3% of county residents have received their first dose of the vaccine with 66.4% being fully inoculated. 6% of staffed beds in hospitals are currently available with 1,397 currently COVID-positive patients admitted locally. 373 COVID-positive patients are currently in the intensive care unit and 23o are reportedly on ventilators.
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