Texas Supreme Court temporarily blocks San Antonio ISD’s staff vaccine mandate
The Texas Supreme Court issued a temporary stay on the San Antonio Independent School District’s staff vaccine mandate Thursday, the day before the school district’s deadline for employees to submit proof they’ve been vaccinated against COVID-19.
Because the vaccines take weeks to go into effect, most district employees who planned on following the requirement have already done so.
During a school board meeting Tuesday, SAISD officials said almost 80% of district employees had already submitted either a request for exemption or proof they’re immunized.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton declared victory over SAISD in a news release sent Thursday.
“All employees of San Antonio ISD should know that they are not required to be vaccinated at this time and cannot be terminated for not being vaccinated,” the attorney general’s office said in the news release. “In the event that any SAISD employees are terminated, they should contact the Texas Attorney General’s office immediately.”
However, the Texas Supreme Court has only issued a temporary stay, not an opinion on the merits of the case.
“We express no view on the merits of the State’s claims,” The Texas Supreme Court wrote in its stay. “This case, like those regarding local governmental entities’ authority to mandate the wearing of masks, challenges the legality of the Governor’s orders under the Texas Disaster Act. We have not yet had the opportunity to consider the merits of these challenges.”
The attorney general’s lawsuit challenging SAISD’s vaccine mandate is currently making its way through the appeals court, after the state requested the 4th Court of Appeals take a second look at its request for a temporary injunction against the district’s mandate. A trial date on the merits of the case is scheduled for January 2022.
SAISD officials said in a statement that the Supreme Court stay “means that (they) must temporarily pause” their staff vaccine mandate while the 4th Court of Appeals considers the state’s appeal.
“We will continue to work with healthcare providers to coordinate vaccine clinics for those employees, students and family members who want them,” the district’s statement said. “We remain committed to believing it’s the right thing to do.”