NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) — In a letter simply addressed to ‘Religious Private Schools in Texas’ Attorney General Ken Paxton made claims that local public health orders attempting to restrict school reopenings violate the U.S. and Texas Constitutions.
Paxton further said that orders restricting the reopening of religious private schools or institutions is inconsistent with Governor Greg Abbott’s executive orders, and therefore, are invalid.
Claiming that there are constitutional and statutory protections unique to religious individuals Paxton said, “In accordance with the protections granted by the First Amendment and Texas law, this guidance allows religious private schools to determine for themselves when to reopen free from any government mandate or interference.”
Earlier in the week the Texas Education Agency announced that it will allow public health officials to keep schools closed for in-person instruction this fall without the campuses losing state funding.
A number of the state’s largest Independent School Districts have already announced that, in an effort to keep students, teachers and staff safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, instruction for the fall semester will be online only until at least Labor Day. The move by the Dallas ISD was made in accordance with an order by Dallas County Health and Human Services.
New guidelines allow Texas schools to hold online-only instruction for up to the first eight weeks of the fall semester, which could potentially push back in-person learning for the majority of students until until November.