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US School mask mandate ban challenged in new Utah lawsuit

07:10  06 september  2021
07:10  06 september  2021 Source:   msn.com

‘A decision no parent should ever have to make’: Families are suing over mask mandate bans

  ‘A decision no parent should ever have to make’: Families are suing over mask mandate bans By banning mask mandates, parents of students with disabilities say states are forcing them to choose between their kids' health and their education.“The only thing I felt was heart-rending fear,” said Boevers, an instructional aide with a background in special education. “Because I didn’t know if he’d be safe.

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A ban on school districts requiring masks is forcing parents of vulnerable kids to wrestle with the painful choice of whether to risk coronavirus infections at school or keep them at home yet again, according to a lawsuit filed Monday in Utah.

Jessica Pyper poses for a photograph with her children Ryker, 10, and Sage, 3, on Friday, Aug. 20, 2021, in West Jordan, Utah. A group of Utah parents is suing the state over a law that bans school districts from approving mask mandates. It's the latest U.S. legal challenge over rules for face coverings in the classroom. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer) © Provided by Associated Press Jessica Pyper poses for a photograph with her children Ryker, 10, and Sage, 3, on Friday, Aug. 20, 2021, in West Jordan, Utah. A group of Utah parents is suing the state over a law that bans school districts from approving mask mandates. It's the latest U.S. legal challenge over rules for face coverings in the classroom. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Parents like Jessica Pyper say a Utah law that blocks districts from passing mandates wrongly prevents children from getting a safe education. She wants her 10-year-old son Ryker to join his fifth grade classmates this year, but his Type 1 diabetes puts him at serious risk.

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“It just sort of seems like nobody cares," she said. “Kids with disabilities often get left behind. They don’t get considered when these types of decisions are being made."

Jessica Pyper poses for a photograph with her children Ryker, 10, and Sage, 3, on Friday, Aug. 20, 2021, in West Jordan, Utah. A group of Utah parents is suing the state over a law that bans school districts from approving mask mandates. It's the latest U.S. legal challenge over rules for face coverings in the classroom. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer) © Provided by Associated Press Jessica Pyper poses for a photograph with her children Ryker, 10, and Sage, 3, on Friday, Aug. 20, 2021, in West Jordan, Utah. A group of Utah parents is suing the state over a law that bans school districts from approving mask mandates. It's the latest U.S. legal challenge over rules for face coverings in the classroom. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

The case filed by a group of nine parents is the latest U.S. lawsuit of its kind from families and educators concerned about school without masks as the highly contagious delta variant surges. Similar cases have been filed in Arizona, Texas and Florida, where thousands of students have already been sent home in rapidly spreading outbreaks.

Florida mask debate split-screen: courtroom vs. classrooms

  Florida mask debate split-screen: courtroom vs. classrooms ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — The coronavirus is disrupting more classrooms in Florida while lawyers for Gov. Ron DeSantis argue against school mask mandates in a Tallahassee courtroom. Three more school districts held hearings Tuesday to discuss stricter mask policies to avoid more disruptions as more staff and students are sent home due to COVID-19 infections and exposures. School boards in Orange, Pinellas and Monroe counties were discussing whether to join at least eight other districts in defying the Republican governor, whose executive order gave parents the power to decide whether a child wears a mask to school.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines call for universal masking in schools, but amid contentious anti-mask protests, several conservative-leaning states are blocking mask mandates.

Brad and Stefanie Plothow look on as their children, Cameron, 9, in the 3rd grade, and Ainsley, 5, in kindergarten, are seen in the background, during home schooling, Friday, Aug. 20, 2021, in Lehi, Utah. A group of Utah parents is suing the state over a law that bans school districts from approving mask mandates. It's the latest U.S. legal challenge over rules for face coverings in the classroom. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer) © Provided by Associated Press Brad and Stefanie Plothow look on as their children, Cameron, 9, in the 3rd grade, and Ainsley, 5, in kindergarten, are seen in the background, during home schooling, Friday, Aug. 20, 2021, in Lehi, Utah. A group of Utah parents is suing the state over a law that bans school districts from approving mask mandates. It's the latest U.S. legal challenge over rules for face coverings in the classroom. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Officials, mostly Republican, contend that there are downsides to kids being masked all day and parents should have the power to decide whether to put them on children, who tend to be less vulnerable to the virus than older adults.

Florida school mask mandate power struggle goes before judge

  Florida school mask mandate power struggle goes before judge ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Florida's power struggle over wearing masks in school to guard against coronavirus infections landed Monday before a judge considering a lawsuit that challenges Gov. Ron DeSantis' order reserving the mask decision for parents. The three-day hearing before Leon County Circuit Judge John C. Cooper pits pro-mask parents against the Republican governor and state education officials who say parents, not schools, should choose whether their children cover up inside schools.

The Utah lawsuit was filed against Republicans Gov. Spencer Cox and Attorney General Sean Reyes, who both declined to comment.

Utah schools were open for in-person learning with a statewide mask mandate last year, but after the mandate ended the GOP-dominated Legislature decided individual school districts couldn't require face coverings on their own.


Video: State Places 29 School Districts On Probation For Defying Mask Mandate (CBS Chicago)

Without masks and other protective steps, coronavirus infections could spread rapidly among kids who are too young to get vaccinated and could bring it home to their families, experts have said. Masks are an effective tool against the spread of the coronavirus, but work best when everyone uses them, research has found.

Stefanie Plothow home schools her children Cameron, 9, in the 3rd grade, and Ainsley, 5, in kindergarten, Friday, Aug. 20, 2021, in Lehi, Utah. A group of Utah parents is suing the state over a law that bans school districts from approving mask mandates. It's the latest U.S. legal challenge over rules for face coverings in the classroom. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer) © Provided by Associated Press Stefanie Plothow home schools her children Cameron, 9, in the 3rd grade, and Ainsley, 5, in kindergarten, Friday, Aug. 20, 2021, in Lehi, Utah. A group of Utah parents is suing the state over a law that bans school districts from approving mask mandates. It's the latest U.S. legal challenge over rules for face coverings in the classroom. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Even as the delta variant has surged in Utah, filling hospitals beyond capacity, just one small school district has navigated the legal hurdles to require masks in the southern Utah tourist mecca of Grand County. An attempt to require masks in Salt Lake County was overturned by the Republican-controlled county council.

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Stefanie Plothow home schools her children Cameron, 9, in the 3rd grade, and Ainsley, 5, in kindergarten, Friday, Aug. 20, 2021, in Lehi, Utah. A group of Utah parents is suing the state over a law that bans school districts from approving mask mandates. It's the latest U.S. legal challenge over rules for face coverings in the classroom. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer) © Provided by Associated Press Stefanie Plothow home schools her children Cameron, 9, in the 3rd grade, and Ainsley, 5, in kindergarten, Friday, Aug. 20, 2021, in Lehi, Utah. A group of Utah parents is suing the state over a law that bans school districts from approving mask mandates. It's the latest U.S. legal challenge over rules for face coverings in the classroom. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Many schools are encouraging students to wear masks, though, and in some parts of the state many are doing so.

But in Brad Plothow’s conservative community of Lehi, south of Salt Lake City, few students except his own children have been wearing them in the classroom, he said. He and his wife home-schooled all four of their children last year, but his older children especially missed their friends and pined for school milestones like getting lockers for the first time.

Stefanie Plothow home schools her children Cameron, 9, in the 3rd grade, and Ainsley, 5, in kindergarten, Friday, Aug. 20, 2021, in Lehi, Utah. A group of Utah parents is suing the state over a law that bans school districts from approving mask mandates. It's the latest U.S. legal challenge over rules for face coverings in the classroom. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer) © Provided by Associated Press Stefanie Plothow home schools her children Cameron, 9, in the 3rd grade, and Ainsley, 5, in kindergarten, Friday, Aug. 20, 2021, in Lehi, Utah. A group of Utah parents is suing the state over a law that bans school districts from approving mask mandates. It's the latest U.S. legal challenge over rules for face coverings in the classroom. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

So they sent their older children to school, both wearing masks. They installed air purifiers and filters at home in hopes of protecting their younger children, one of whom has fairly severe asthma.

President Biden's private sector business mandate is 'unprecedented'

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Brad and Stefanie Plothow home school their children Cameron, 9, in the 3rd grade, and Ainsley, 5, in kindergarten, Friday, Aug. 20, 2021, in Lehi, Utah. A group of Utah parents is suing the state over a law that bans school districts from approving mask mandates. It's the latest U.S. legal challenge over rules for face coverings in the classroom. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer) © Provided by Associated Press Brad and Stefanie Plothow home school their children Cameron, 9, in the 3rd grade, and Ainsley, 5, in kindergarten, Friday, Aug. 20, 2021, in Lehi, Utah. A group of Utah parents is suing the state over a law that bans school districts from approving mask mandates. It's the latest U.S. legal challenge over rules for face coverings in the classroom. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Plothow said it was frustrating to watch state leaders abandon steps he said largely worked to keep schools open and safe last year.

“We’re not activists, we’re not political, we’re not partisan ... where we draw the line is when you mess around with the kids,” he said. “This should not be a political football.”

People look on during a news conference after a lawsuit was filed for a group of parents who sued the state of Utah Monday, Aug. 23, 2021, in Salt Lake City, to challenge a law that bans school districts from passing mask mandates. They say the law violates the educational rights of at-risk kids. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer) © Provided by Associated Press People look on during a news conference after a lawsuit was filed for a group of parents who sued the state of Utah Monday, Aug. 23, 2021, in Salt Lake City, to challenge a law that bans school districts from passing mask mandates. They say the law violates the educational rights of at-risk kids. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer) Celka Van Dijk sits with her children during a news conference after a lawsuit was filed for a group of parents who sued the state of Utah Monday, Aug. 23, 2021, in Salt Lake City, to challenge a law that bans school districts from passing mask mandates. They say the law violates the educational rights of at-risk kids. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer) © Provided by Associated Press Celka Van Dijk sits with her children during a news conference after a lawsuit was filed for a group of parents who sued the state of Utah Monday, Aug. 23, 2021, in Salt Lake City, to challenge a law that bans school districts from passing mask mandates. They say the law violates the educational rights of at-risk kids. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Federal Courts Impose Mask Mandates While Some Hear Arguments They Are Unconstitutional .
"It's completely preposterous that someone who is suing to overturn a mask mandatewould be ordered to go into court wearing a mask," Lucas Wall said.As in-person hearings and trials resume at courthouses around the U.S., the recent surge in cases from the Delta variant has caused some federal courts to require masks and either a negative COVID-19 test or proof of vaccination.

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