Coverage About Mask Mandates

November 16, 2021

Tennessee School District Eliminates Mask Mandate Against Legal Advice.

The Tennessean (11/16, Exum) reports Tennessee’s “Williamson County Schools Board of Education voted in favor of removing its district-wide mask mandate Monday at its November meeting.” The removal was “based on low COVID-19 case counts across the district,” but “was made against the recommendation of litigation counsel Lisa Carson and district superintendent Jason Golden, who both met with the board prior to the Monday night meeting.” This legal advice was based on “a whirlwind weekend of back and forth according to state and federal action” over a newly proposed Tennessee law limiting COVID-19-related mandates.


Pennsylvania Judge Rules School Mask Mandate Must Expire December 4.

The AP (11/16) reports, “A Pennsylvania judge on Tuesday said an order that requires masks inside K-12 schools and child care facilities to contain the coronavirus must expire Dec. 4, although that is unlikely to be the final legal development in the case.” The ruling comes after the judge “threw out the statewide mask mandate, and it lifts the automatic suspension of that decision granted when Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration appealed to the state Supreme Court.” In theory, the ruling “gives time for the state Supreme Court to take up the case, or for Wolf’s administration to write and enact a mask mandate through an emergency regulation.”


California Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Against Mask Mandates.

Fox News (11/14, Sabes) reported, “A judge in California has dismissed a lawsuit filed against Gov. Gavin Newsom’s mask mandate in K-12 schools, but opponents of the mandate are not admitting defeat just yet.” The lawsuit “was aimed at challenging the governor’s authority to issue a mask mandate for schools in California” but the judge “said in the order dismissing the lawsuit on Friday that the state ‘has a compelling interest in minimizing the impact of contagious diseases like COVID-19 on children as those diseases may impact a child’s ability to attend school.’” She also “said the ‘courts should decline to second-guess public health officials’ actions in an ‘area fraught with medical and scientific uncertainties.’”


Tennessee Law Limiting School Mask Mandates Remains On Hold.

The AP (11/15, Kruesi) reports, “A newly enacted law seeking to block most Tennessee schools from implementing mask mandates will continue to be put on hold as a federal lawsuit moves forward, a judge determined Monday.” This move “marks the latest flurry of confusion over the contentious statute signed last Friday by Republican Gov. Bill Lee. While the law banned several COVID-19 prevention efforts, questions over applying to the monthslong legal battle over school mask requirements has become the top fight.” Questions still “remain if the halt applies statewide or just to the school districts of the plaintiffs.”

        The Tennessean (11/15, Timms) reports, “The next hearing in the case is set for Friday, where further evidence on a motion for a preliminary injunction is expected.”


Federal Judge Pauses Implementation Of Tennessee Law Banning Public School Mask Mandates.

The AP (11/14) reports, “Tennessee’s new wide-ranging law against COVID-19 prevention mandates hit a snag Sunday when a federal judge appeared to temporarily halt its implementation of strict limits on mask mandates in schools as they apply in at least three counties.” The judge, U.S. District Judge Waverly D. Crenshaw, Jr., “ordered that the status quo be maintained for the disabled children who are plaintiffs in Williamson, Shelby and Knox counties as of last Thursday, the day before Gov. Bill Lee signed the legislation.” On Sunday, Crenshaw “pointed to the ‘alleged conflict and the possible confusion’ that law creates for schools. He ordered a hearing for Monday.”

        The Tennessean (11/14, Testino) also provides coverage.


Students Sue In Federal Court Over Tennessee Law Banning School Mask Mandates.

The Memphis (TN) Commercial Appeal (11/12, Testino) reported, “New COVID-19 legislation banning public schools from mandating masks in most instances is unconstitutional and violates federal disability law, claims a lawsuit filed in federal court within an hour of Gov. Bill Lee signing the legislation Friday.” Eight students across Tennessee, “by way of their parents, filed the suit in US District Court for the Middle of Tennessee, against Lee and Penny Schwinn, state education commissioner.” The suit “requests a judge block the legislation from taking effect.”


Colorado County Health Board Approves Motion To Revise Order On Mask Exemptions.

The Denver Post (11/12, Nicholson) reported, “The Douglas County Board of Health on Friday unanimously approved a motion to revise a public health order allowing exemption from facial coverings, affirming that the order does not apply to the Douglas County School District.” On Oct. 8, the newly formed Douglas County Health Department, “in its first public order, declared that students, teachers and staff members of the 64,000-student Douglas County School District would not have to wear face masks.” But the “health department’s mask and quarantining order is currently blocked by a federal judge after the Douglas County School District, along with the parents of nine students with disabilities, filed a lawsuit against the county health department on Oct. 20.”


Florida Lawmakers Begin Debates Over COVID-19 Mandates, Rules.

The AP (11/15, Izaguirre) reports, “Florida lawmakers on Monday began debating a package of bills to combat coronavirus vaccine mandates, continuing Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis’ fight against virus rules.” The state’s special legislative session “includes proposals to let workers opt out of COVID-19 vaccine mandates and allow parents to sue schools with masking requirements.” The measures include barring “private businesses from having coronavirus vaccine mandates unless they allow exemptions for medical reasons, religious beliefs, proof of immunity based on a prior COVID-19 infection, regular testing and an agreement to wear protective gear. Employers would be subject to fines up to $50,000 for firing a worker without offering the exemptions.” Another includes barring “COVID-19 vaccine mandates for public school and government workers in Florida.”


Every Florida School District Has Lifted Mask Mandates That Violated Statewide Ban.

Forbes (11/12, Durkee) reported, “Every school district in Florida that had been punished by the state for imposing a mask mandate that violated a statewide ban on them has now lifted its mask order as of this week, as schools across the country drop mask requirements in response to falling COVID-19 cases and vaccines becoming available for children ages five to 11.” Florida’s Miami-Dade, Broward and Alachua counties “all dropped their mask orders this week, three of eight school districts that the Florida Department of Education voted to withhold funding from after they imposed strict mask mandates despite a state order prohibiting them.”

Last modified on 11/19/2021

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