A federal judge has ordered Knox County Schools to mandate masks with no opt-out in order to protect student safety. The move follows a recent order by a federal judge that Shelby County Schools may enforce a mask mandate with no opt-out in defiance of Gov. Bill Lee’s executive order requiring an opt-out option.
The Knoxville News-Sentinel has more:
Knox County Schools must require all staff and students to wear masks in schools while a lawsuit by families of disabled children plays out, a federal judge ruled Friday. The ruling takes effect immediately.
U.S. District Judge J. Ronnie Greer also blocked Gov. Bill Lee’s executive order allowing Knox County Schools parents to opt out of the mask mandate. The judge’s ruling only applies to the school district.
The governor’s executive order was already set to expire Oct. 5. Jessica Salonus, a lawyer representing the four families who are suing the Knox County Board of Education and the governor, said that even if Lee extends his opt-out order, it still won’t apply in Knox County.
A similar lawsuit is now pending in Williamson County.
The rulings in Shelby and Knox counties mean that Lee’s opt-out order is essentially a moot point in two of the state’s four largest school districts.
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