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'We're going to continue to advocate for masking' | Houston ISD parents push new petition aimed at lifting mask mandate ban

Gov. Abbott reiterated his opposition to government-imposed mask mandates.

HOUSTON — Texas governor Greg Abbott reiterated his opposition to face covering requirements during a hoteliers convention in Dallas.

"There will not be any government-imposed shutdowns or mask mandates,” Gov. Abbott said.

But a group of Houston ISD parents are the latest to try and change his mind ahead of the 100 percent in-person fall semester.

"So that local schools, local communities can make decisions that are best for them,” said parent Kelley Boston, who's also an epidemiologist.

She helped craft a new petition, written in at least three languages, asking the governor to reverse an executive order preventing districts from mandating masks.

"I do recognize that it’s a challenge in the state of Texas," Boston said. "But we are trying to give parents and families and communities an easy way to make their voice heard about how we can keep kids safe.”

Boston said, for children under 12 who are not eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations, masks are really the only protection given the fact that social distancing in fully occupied classrooms isn’t really an option.

"We're going to continue to advocate for masking,” Boston said.

She and others planned to present their petition to the governor and the Texas Education Agency next Monday.

At last check, it included more than 5,200 signatures.

But petitions don't seem to be making much of an impact.

“Everyone can voluntarily implement mandates that are safest for them, for their families and for their businesses,” Gov. Abbott said.

HISD superintendent Millard House said he supports parent petitions and input. However, the district has not plans to buck the governor's order.

It does strongly encourage mask usage among students and staff.

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