SAN ANTONIO — San Antonio Independent School District will require staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19, becoming the first district in Bexar County to issue a vaccine mandate for teachers and staff.
SAISD made the announcement after a Bexar County judge issued a temporary injunction, allowing local officials to continue to enforce mask-wearing at San Antonio-area school districts, though an executive order from Texas Governor Greg Abbott banned such mandates.
"We are being proactive to protect the health and safety of those we hold dear," a statement from the district read. SAISD will also require face masks for students and staff, in accordance with a mandate issued by Bexar County Medical Director Junda Woo last week.
Woo signed an August 10 order which requires all students, instructors, staff and visitors to Bexar County schools to wear masks, "regardless of vaccination status." The order also requires Bexar County school officials to notify parents in the event of new COVID-19 cases on campus.
The same day, a district court judge cleared the way for local mask mandates via a restraining order against Gov. Abbott. Days later, the Fourth Court of Appeals decided to uphold local leaders' authority to mandate face coverings in schools, in turn denying an attempt by Abbott to appeal the temporary restraining order.
Sunday evening, the Texas Supreme Court granted stay orders against the temporary restraining order by granted to San Antonio officials, as well as a similar order granted to Dallas leaders. Monday's temporary injunction issued by District Judge Toni Arteaga only applies to the order issued to San Antonio,
Coronavirus cases continue to surge across the state and children go back to classrooms for the start of the new school year.
The American Academy of Pediatrics released a statement stating all students older than two and all school staff should wear masks at school.
Children under 12 are not eligible for a vaccine, and hospitals are seeing a rise in cases amongst children. While most do not experience severe infection, Dr. Jason Bowling, Director of Hospital Epidemiology at University Health, said the Delta variant is much more transmissible, and more kids are getting sick. He added, if more and more kids are getting sick, more kids may require hospitalization.
“And unfortunately some are dying," Bowling said.