A district judge in\u0026nbsp;Bexar County, Texas ruled Tuesday that local officials can impose mask mandates in schools in defiance of Gov.\u0026nbsp;Greg Abbott\u0026#039;s executive order\u0026nbsp;barring local governments from requiring face coverings.\r\n\r\nJudge Toni Arteaga granted a temporary restraining order to San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg and\u0026nbsp;Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff, who sued the governor\u0026nbsp;on Tuesday over his directive, arguing he does\u0026nbsp;not have the authority to\u0026nbsp;\u0022suspend state laws that give local officials the needed authority to cope with an emergency.\u0022\r\n\r\n\u0022Ironically, the governor is taking a state law meant to facilitate local action during an emergency and using it to prohibit local response to the emergency that he himself declared.\u0022\r\n—San Antonio Mayor\u0026nbsp;Ron Nirenberg\r\n\r\nThe judge said an affidavit\u0026nbsp;from\u0026nbsp;Metro Health Chief Medical Officer Dr. Junda Woo \u0022weighed heavily\u0026nbsp;in her decision\u0022 according to local news outlet KSAT.\r\n\r\nNirenberg and\u0026nbsp;Wolff filed their lawsuit a day after a similar challenge was announced in Dallas County, where school officials plan to defy the governor\u0026#039;s order stating that government\u0026nbsp;entities including public schools from mandating that students and staff members wear face masks when the school year\u0026nbsp;begins.\u0026nbsp;\r\n\r\n\u0022We are challenging the governor\u0026#039;s authority to suspend local emergency orders during a crisis such as the Covid-19 pandemic,” Nirenberg said in a statement. \u0022Ironically, the governor is taking a state law meant to facilitate local action during an emergency and using it to prohibit local response to the emergency that he himself declared.\u0022\r\n\r\nAbbott issued an executive\u0026nbsp;order last month stating that local governments which attempt to enforce mask mandates would\u0026nbsp;be subject\u0026nbsp;to fines and stated\u0026nbsp;that \u0022no governmental entity can compel any individual to receive a Covid-19 vaccine.\u0022\r\n\r\nOver the past month, cases and hospitalizations in Texas have steadily increased, with the state now reporting an average of more than 10,000 Covid-19 cases per day.\u0026nbsp;\r\n\r\nWith students and teachers set to return to school in the coming weeks, Nirenberg and Wolff requested a temporary restraining order allowing them to mandate mask-wearing in public schools and to require unvaccinated students to quarantine if they come into contact with someone who has Covid-19.\r\n\r\n\u0022As the school year begins, the health of our students, especially those under 12 who are not eligible to be vaccinated, are being put at risk,\u0022 Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff said in a statement. \u0022The pandemic is not over. We need to continue to utilize every tool we have to combat the very contagious delta variant.\u0026nbsp;We have come too far to allow our students to be super spreaders.\u0022\r\n\r\nDallas County Judge Clay Jenkins also said in a temporary restraining order and declaration on Monday that the governor does not have the authority to\u0026nbsp;block mask mandates.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\u0022School districts and government closest to the people should make decisions on how best to keep students and others safe,\u0022 said Jenkins. \u0022I hope others will join me in following the science and listening to local doctors and the CDC to act swiftly and decisively.\u0022\r\n\r\nWith nearly 9,500 people currently hospitalized with Covid-19 in Texas, Abbott on Monday called on hospitals to stop performing non-emergency medical procedures. At least 53 hospitals across the state have reached capacity in their intensive care units.\r\n\r\nAustin has\u0026nbsp;been identified as a hot spot\u0026nbsp;for Covid spread despite high vaccination rates; health officials said last week that the city is at \u0022Stage 5 risk for Covid-19 spread.\u0022\r\n\r\nDemocratic leaders in the state joined former San Antonio mayor and presidential candidate Julian Castro at a virtual press conference Tuesday demanding Abbott\u0026nbsp;\u0022rescind his restrictions on masks in schools and do his job to keep Texans safe.\u0022\r\n\r\nOn Sunday, the Southern Center for Child Advocacy filed its own lawsuit\u0026nbsp;(pdf) against the governor, saying \u0022students throughout Texas are at risk of imminent irreparable harm due to the likelihood they will contract Covid-19 if school districts are not authorized to require masks for students and staff.\u0022\r\n\r\n\u0022The Governor’s issuance [the executive order] violates the constitutional and statutory regime in Texas as it relates to the provision of public education,\u0022 the group said in a court filing.\r\n\r\nThe legal challenges and decisions\u0026nbsp;by officials in Dallas to flout Abbott\u0026#039;s directive regarding masks in schools follows similar actions in Florida, where several school districts have announced they will require masks despite Gov. Ron DeSantis\u0026#039; executive order which threatened to pull state funding from districts if they do so.\r\n\r\nFlorida and Texas combined accounted for one-third of all new Covid-19 cases in the U.S. last week.\r\n\r\nHouston school officials plan to vote on whether to impose a mask mandate on Thursday in defiance of Abbott\u0026#039;s order.