AUSTIN — “Today we stay enforcement of San Antonio Independent School District’s policy requiring that all its employees be vaccinated for COVID-19 by October 15.”

On Thursday, amid a contentious state and nationwide fight over forced vaccinations, the Texas Supreme Court issued their temporary order to stop local elected officials from forcing employees to get COVID vaccines.

“All employees of San Antonio ISD should know that they are not required to be vaccinated at this time and cannot be terminated for not being vaccinated,” said Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. “In the event that any SAISD employees are terminated, they should contact the Texas Attorney General’s office immediately.”

The forced mask and vaccination fight in Texas traces back to last year, when Gov. Greg Abbott enacted executive orders closing businesses and imposing mask mandates across the state in response to the Chinese coronavirus. This year, Abbott changed his mind, canceled those orders, and even issued new ones saying local officials now cannot force citizens to wear masks or get coronavirus vaccines.

However, over the past few months, local officials across Texas began disregarding Abbott’s latest executive orders and decreeing their own local mask and vaccine mandates on citizens—such as in San Antonio ISD.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton sued them and several other local governments across the state, taking them to the ongoing legal feud in the Texas Supreme Court.

The fight over executive and local orders has left Texans confused about whose mandates have authority, while the state Legislature has still declined to pass any state law clarifying the mask and vaccine mandate issue.

In Thursday’s ruling, the state’s highest court clarified they have not yet expressed any view on the issue, but are simply “preserving the status quo” while the legal process unfolds.

“This case, like those regarding local governmental entities’ authority to mandate the wearing of masks, challenges the legality of the Governor’s orders under the Texas Disaster Act. We have not yet had the opportunity to consider the merits of these challenges,” the court wrote. “Our role has been to issue orders preserving the status quo.”

“No local entity is above state law,” continued Attorney General Paxton. “I am glad to see that the Supreme Court of Texas has again confirmed that the Governor’s decisions control at both the state and local levels. This decision should serve as a reminder to all Texas school districts that they should be using their limited funds on educating children and equipping teachers, not defending unlawful vaccine mandates.”

Jacob Asmussen

Jacob Asmussen is a Senior Journalist for Texas Scorecard. He attended the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor and in 2017 earned a double major in public relations and piano performance.


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