Last month, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order that prohibits schools and other public entities from mandating the use of masks. In order to protect students and staff without technically disobeying the governor's order, one Texas school district is adding masks to its dress code. With cases of COVID-19 surging in record numbers across the country, virus mitigation efforts are at the top of everyone's mind as we approach the beginning of a new school year. Though a majority of school districts spent all of last year doing everything possible to ensure proper precautions were in place to combat the spread of the virus, many districts nationwide are drastically easing those measures for the 2021-22 school year.

The Paris Independent School District (PISD) announced the dress code update in a statement Tuesday, saying its board of trustees is concerned about the health and safety of its students and staff as COVID-19 cases rise in Texas and all over the U.S.

"The board believes the dress code can be used to mitigate communicable health issues, and therefore has amended the PISD dress code to protect our students and employees," the district said in a press release. "The Texas governor does not have the authority to usurp the board of trustees' exclusive power and duty to govern and oversee the management of the public schools of the district." The new dress code measure, which goes into effect on the first day of school on Aug. 19, will be revisited at every monthly trustee meeting, per the district. The vote was 5-1 to alter the dress code to incorporate mask-wearing. Many parents around the country are applauding PISD for being actionable in regard to masks and protecting children—who, if under the age of 12, cannot yet receive the vaccine. Last week, a Tennessee mom went viral for calling out the hypocrisy of schools saying they can't enforce masks while they still uphold sexist dress codes. When issuing the executive order against mask mandates, Gov. Abbott said said Texas will rely on "personal responsibility" as the state tries to get through the pandemic. Gov. Abbot tested positive for COVID-19 this week. Per ABC Action News, he is fully vaccinated and isn't experiencing any symptoms.