Gov. Bill Lee responded to three losses in court last week by doubling down on the executive order that landed him in court and allows parents to opt-out of local school district mask mandates.
Of course, as a result of the court orders, the opt-out is essentially meaningless in the districts where the suits originated. Still, Lee is persisting in renewing an executive order he has previously admitted his administration has no intention of enforcing.
Chalkbeat has more on the renewal:
Gov. Bill Lee said Thursday he’ll extend his executive order allowing parents to opt their children out of following local school mask mandates that protect them against the coronavirus.
The 30-day extension will come despite rulings by three federal judges blocking his Aug. 16 executive order, which is due to expire on Oct. 5.
The judges in Memphis, Nashville, and Knoxville sided with some parents who said the governor’s order violates federal law by creating unsafe learning environments for students with disabilities who are more at risk of severe illness from COVID.
The move by Lee comes even as a new CDC report indicates that Tennessee has lost the most school days of any state due to closures related to COVID-19.
The Tennessean has more:
Unsurprising to many students and parents, Tennessee has seen the most COVID-related school closures so far this school year according to a new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study published.
From Aug. 2 to Sept. 17, Tennessee saw more than 400 schools close for at least one day, according to the study released last week.
The New York Times reports that Lee’s continued non-response to COVID-19 is the result of a desire to avoid a challenge from the extreme right of his party, citing GOP state Senator and Dr. Richard Briggs from Knoxville:
“The governor [Bill Lee] understands completely the seriousness of the problem, and I think that hard decisions are being tempered by political realities, which is that he has an election next year,” and “Dr. Briggs described the surge of cases in Tennessee as a “completely self-inflicted crisis.”
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