TDEM issued criteria that allows certain counties to be exempt from face-covering mandate

Certain school districts also exempted from mask mandate

JACKSON COUNTY, Texas- In Jackson County wearing a mask is no longer mandatory. The Texas Division of Emergency Management has issued new criteria for a county to be exempt from the face-covering requirement of GA-29.

The criteria that counties must meet to qualify for the face-covering exemption include the following:

  1. The county must have 20 or fewer new COVID-19 cases during the previous 14-day period.
  2. The county judge of a county with 20 or fewer new COVID-19 cases during the previous 14-day period must submit an exemption form affirmatively opting out.
  3. Counties approved for exemption from the GA-29 face-covering requirement will be listed on the TDEM website.

Jackson County Judge Jill Sklar says the county filed paperwork with the Texas Department of Emergency Management. Sklar says the county has 20 or fewer cases of COVID-19 in the last 14 days.

The lifted mask mandate includes school districts in Jackson County.

The County Judge did say that businesses can still require masks if they choose to.

Industrial ISD made a statement on social media stating that while masks are no longer mandatory at Jackson County campuses, it is encouraged that all students and staff continue to wear their masks when in close contact with other students and staff.

Ganado ISD also made a statement on social media explaining to students and parents that students and staff may remove their masks while remaining socially distanced inside or outside the school except during the following times:

• When social distancing is not occurring
• During hallway passing periods
• During group work inside the classrooms
• During staff or large group meetings
• While riding on the bus if students are sitting together in a seat or are not socially distanced
Face mask requirements during football games and volleyball games will be dependent upon the county in which we are sharing gym and field space with, the district said. Since not all counties are on the TDEM list, all Ganado fans, students, and staff are required to continue to follow the executive order GA-29 at all away games until further notice.
“It is highly recommended that any person with a compromised immune system wear a mask at all times,” Ganado ISD said. “If, at any time, the cases in the county rise above the threshold of 20, Jackson County will be removed from this list and the mask order will become active again. I am highly recommending that face masks be worn as often as is feasible.”
Other counties exempt from the requirements of GA-29 are Karnes, Calhoun, and Goliad. You can see a complete list of other counties exempted from the face-covering requirement here. Victoria County is not included in this list.

A statement from the Victoria County Public Health Department said that they are “not recommending that Victoria County be exempted from the face-covering requirement of GA-29. According to the Texas Division of Emergency Management, a county must have 20 or fewer new COVID-19 cases during the previous 14-day period, which is not the case for our county.”