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Hardin County judge pens letter to parents confirming decision is up to schools to enforce mask mandates

It provides information for parents, such as what to do if your child is sick or tests positive for COVID-19, and how to handle unexcused absences for a child.

HARDIN COUNTY, Texas — Hardin County health officials released a Saturday morning letter urging the community to continue practicing healthy habits during the COVID-19 surge. 

As cases continue rising, Hardin County Judge Wayne McDaniel released a statement Saturday morning asking residents to do everything possible to keep families and school-aged children safe.

The release provides information for parents, such as what to do if your child is sick or tests positive for COVID-19, and how to handle unexcused absences for a child.

“I have been asked by some parents if I will mandate the schools to wear masks and/or provide other directives to the schools, and my answer to these questions is no. It is up to each school’s administration as to how they will manage their schools," McDaniel said in part.

The announcement comes after two Southeast Texas school districts confirmed Friday they will be enforcing a district-wide mask mandate at all campuses.

While McDaniel isn’t enforcing a mask policy for county school districts, health officials are recommending residents to wear a mask to help slow the spread of the virus.

“Wear a mask over the nose and the mouth when you are around others.  It is not 100% but it does help,” the release says.

The release also encourages those eligible to get a vaccine to go ahead and make an appointment.

"It is another tool to help you stay out of the hospital and to have less risk of dying if you get ill," the release says.

MORE | Read full release from Hardin County Health Services here

The judge said he and Hardin County Health Services will keep close communication with school superintendents on a regular basis.

Hardin-Jefferson ISD, Kountze ISD, Lumberton ISD, Silsbee ISD, and West Hardin CCISD are school districts in the Hardin County area.

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