Mr. Abbott on Monday evening released a statement describing steps Texas would take to curb the spread of the coronavirus, which didn’t mention masks.

Michael Hinojosa, the district’s superintendent, said at a news conference on Monday to announce the mandate that the vast majority of his students and teachers were already wearing masks.

Asked why he wanted to impose a mandate when it seemed that people were taking the precaution on their own, Mr. Hinojosa said, “Because if we can save one student, one teacher, from going through this awful pain it’ll get them more prepared to learn, and I think that if you do this together you have a better chance for success.”

Federal guidance calls for students, teachers, parents and visitors at schools to wear masks to slow the spread of the virus. Vaccines protect against serious illness or death, but do not completely prevent infection, and no vaccine has yet been authorized for children under 12. So primary and secondary schools around the country will be reopening for a largely unvaccinated population at a time when the Delta variant appears to be sickening children more than earlier virus variants did.

The Dallas district serves nearly 154,000 students in 230 schools, most of which open on Aug. 16, according to its website. The district, which required masks during the last school year, largely serves nonwhite working-class families.

School districts in other states that ban mask mandates, like Florida and Arizona, have tried to require masks anyway because of the surging Delta variant. Gov. Asa Hutchinson, Republican of Arkansas, said on Sunday that he regretted signing his state’s ban on mask mandates into law.

“Facts change, and leaders have to adjust to the new facts and the reality of what you have to deal with,” Mr. Hutchinson said on the CBS program “Face the Nation.”

Dana Goldstein, David Montgomery, Giulia Heyward, Edgar Sandoval contributed reporting.

Source From Nytimes

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