Stephenville’s health authority to ask school officials to reinstate mandatory masks.


Dr. Kelly Doggett

By SARA VANDEN BERGE


Just days before a new school year is set to get underway, Stephenville’s health authority Dr. Kelly Doggett will attend a school board meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Monday to request that a mandatory mask-wearing policy be reinstated.


Dr. Doggett sent the following statement to Beneath the Surface News about the developing situation. It is being published in its entirety.

“A legal precedent has been set as multiple courts in Texas have struck down Governor Abbott’s executive order banning local governments and school boards from requiring masks.


“Taking this into consideration, I’ve asked Superintendent Matt Underwood to consider universal masking at SISD.


“As we all know the development and spread of the Delta variant has been a game changer. It’s the predominant circulating strain being present in well over 90% of cases.

“The alpha and beta strains generally affected children to a much lesser degree than adults. The Delta variant has been described as one of the most contagious viruses known to science. It’s also affecting children much more severely than previous strains.


“It’s my duty as a public health official to present the facts to the superintendent and board of trustees and let them make their decision.

“This of course is contingent on the court of appeals upholding the ruling of the lower courts striking down the governor’s executive order.


“If the governor wins on appeal, it’s a moot point. I’m not suggesting the district get into a legal battle or lawsuit.


“If the governor prevails or the board elects to continue the status quo, I’ll know I did my best.

“A previously healthy Erath County resident in their 40s lost their battle with Covid today in the Stephenville hospital.


“Folks, this is a public health crisis. This is not an issue of personal responsibility. When personal responsibility falls short or fails, others are placed in danger and those in charge have a responsibility to protect the vulnerable.


“My responsibility is to present the facts.”