(WPRI) – The highly contagious Delta variant now represents almost all new COVID-19 cases sequenced in the United States, forcing some to rethink mask mandates.
In response, some cities and school districts across the country have reinstated indoor mask mandates, despite opposition from their heads of state.
While Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has banned county, local governments, and school districts from implementing warrants over masks, the mayor of Houston, along with two Texas counties, made their own rules for wear masks indoors instead.
For ignoring the governor’s message, they could face a fine of $ 1,000.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis recently signed an executive order banning mask warrants in schools, saying it should be up to parents to decide.
The ordinance also allowed the state to deny funding to any district that does not comply.
Knowing the risks, the school boards of Duval and Alachua counties have made the decision to require masks, due to the increase in hospitalizations and new cases of COVID-19.
The Duval County School Board voted Tuesday night to require students to wear masks unless parents sign forms to opt out. The Leon County School District Superintendent sent a letter to DeSantis asking him to allow the use of masks.
In Arkansas, Governor Asa Hutchinson says he now regrets banning mask warrants for schools and has now called on the General Assembly to overturn the law.
The Republican governor says he signed it at a time when “cases were at a very low point.”
“Everything has changed now,” he said. “And yes, in hindsight, I would have liked it not to become a law, but it is the law and the only chance we have is either to change it or, for the courts, to say that it has an unconstitutional basis. “
An Arkansas school district has voted to sue the state for its mask ban.
After only about a week of returning to school, the Marion School District has 730 students and staff in quarantine, with 43 active cases of COVID-19.
In Rhode Island, Gov. Dan McKee hasn’t banned mask warrants, and it’s still unclear whether the state will start suggesting everyone wear masks indoors.
However, Rhode Island will follow the advice of the CDC in recommending that they be used by all students, teachers and staff at PreK-12 schools.
So far, two cities in Rhode Island have required everyone, regardless of their immunization status, to wear masks inside public buildings owned by the city.
City of Central Falls and Newport employees will also be required to wear a face shield when engaging with the public or in common areas of city-owned buildings.
Some colleges and universities in Rhode Island are also announcing changes in mask policies for the upcoming fall semester.