Over the last couple of weeks, COVID- 19 cases have soared nationwide and in Texas. Dallas County currently has a 13.26% positivity rate. Meaning every COVID-19 test administrated 13.26% come back positive. Compared to early in the year we saw Dallas County at Positivity levels of 3-4 percent.

The new COVID-19 cases lead to the mask mandate announcement. On Monday, August 9th, 2021, Superintendent Dr. Matt Vereecke of the Diocese of Dallas communicated with parents informing them of a mask mandate effective August 10 via letter. He stated

“clear and present danger for unvaccinated children” from the delta COVID-19 variant and rising COVID-19 cases in North Texas.

“While these protocols will be in place until further notice, it is our intention to return local control as soon as it is safe to do so,”

According to Vereecke, factors included in this decision of the mask mandate comprised of “case rates, vaccination rates, hospital capacity, and internal data regarding school cases.”

On the same day, Dallas Independent School District released their press release of a mask mandate effective August 10. Superintendent Dr. Michael Hinojosa cited concerns of the surge in COVID- 19 cases.

“On June 18 when we ended school, there were only 103 new cases in Dallas County. Currently, as of last Friday, there are 820 new cases. More importantly, medical professionals at UT Southwestern project that by Aug. 23 we will have 2,000 new cases per day,” he said. “And as the superintendent of the second-largest district in Texas, I’m responsible for everything, most importantly, the safety of our students and staff and families. I need to implement whatever safety protocols I feel are in the best interest of our school district.”

DISD cited “protect[ing] staff and students from the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus, Dallas ISD is temporarily requiring all staff, students, and visitors to wear masks when on district property.”

DISD is the first school district to defy’s Governor Greg Abbott’s executive order which prohibits mask mandates.

In contrast to non-state-funded schools, the Dioceses of Dallas does not have to comply with Gov. Abbott’s mandate because the Dioceses of Dallas does not receive any state funding.

Jesuit Dallas is currently not under the order of Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order. Jesuit Dallas has chosen to enforce a mask mandate on their campus citing “with the recent mandate from the Diocese of Dallas as well as recommendations from the CDC and the School’s medical advisors, masks are required for all students, staff, and visitors regardless of vaccination status while indoors on campus.”

Stay tuned to The Roundup for more news regarding COVID-19.