A federal judge today blocked Gov. Bill Lee’s executive order allowing parents to opt-out of mask mandates in schools.
WTVC-NewsChannel9 has more:
U.S. District Judge Sheryl Lipman issued the preliminary injunction after parents of students with health conditions argued that the Republican governor’s executive order endangered their children and hurt their ability to attend in-person classes by allowing others to opt-out of a mask mandate
In the ruling, Lipman wrote that the ability to safely access schools was a guaranteed right and that the executive order impedes this right.
“Plaintiffs offered sufficient evidence at this stage to demonstrate that the Executive Order interferes with Plaintiffs’ ability to safely access their schools,” the judge wrote.
Chalkbeat has additional reporting:
“It is that unmasked presence that creates the danger to these plaintiffs,” she wrote. “Universal masking is a reasonable accommodation that the governor’s executive order refuses to make available to schools, school systems and, in this case, the Shelby County Health Department.”
Friday’s ruling only affects Shelby County, where the executive order was in effect from Aug. 16 to Sept. 3, when it was blocked by the court’s temporary restraining order. Gov. Bill Lee’s order still stands in other counties.
“The public interest certainly recognizes the rights of parents,” she said, “but a universal masking requirement to protect students’ health does not significantly impact their ability to direct their education any more than would a uniform policy or requiring that students receive certain vaccinations before attending school.”
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