Federal judge blocks Gov. Abbott's ban on mask mandates in schools (2022)

Federal judge blocks Gov. Abbott's ban on mask mandates in schools (1)

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Federal judge blocks Gov. Abbott's ban on mask mandates in schools (2)

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Federal judge blocks Gov. Abbott's ban on mask mandates in schools (3)

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Federal judge blocks Gov. Abbott's ban on mask mandates in schools (4)

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(Video) Judge overrules Texas governor's ban on mask mandates in schools

Federal judge blocks Gov. Abbott's ban on mask mandates in schools (5)

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Federal judge blocks Gov. Abbott's ban on mask mandates in schools (6)

BBC

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Federal judge blocks Gov. Abbott's ban on mask mandates in schools (7)

Bloomberg

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Federal judge blocks Gov. Abbott's ban on mask mandates in schools (8)

BBC

(Video) Federal Judge Blocks Texas From Banning Mask Mandates In Schools

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Federal judge blocks Gov. Abbott's ban on mask mandates in schools (9)

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Federal judge blocks Gov. Abbott's ban on mask mandates in schools (10)

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(Video) Judge blocks mask mandate in Texas schools | KVUE

Federal judge blocks Gov. Abbott's ban on mask mandates in schools (13)

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Federal judge blocks Gov. Abbott's ban on mask mandates in schools (15)

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Federal judge blocks Gov. Abbott's ban on mask mandates in schools (16)

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Federal judge blocks Gov. Abbott's ban on mask mandates in schools (17)

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Federal judge blocks Gov. Abbott's ban on mask mandates in schools (19)

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Greg Abbott's executive order that bans public schools from imposing mask mandates cannot be enforced because it violates federal law by putting students with disabilities at greater risk of contracting COVID-19.. U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel of Austin also blocked Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton from bringing legal action against school districts that require students, teachers and staff to wear face coverings as a pandemic safety measure.. Yeakel's injunction , issued Wednesday, also blocked state officials from imposing fines or withholding state money from districts with mask mandates.. Paxton — who has filed lawsuits to overturn mask mandates in 15 school districts, and who has threatened similar action against dozens more — is expected to appeal the decision.. Ruling in favor of seven students with various disabilities and medical conditions, Yeakel said Abbott's order — issued July 29 and known as GA-38 — violates the Americans With Disabilities Act by denying the students the opportunity to participate equally in school.. "Because GA-38 precludes mask requirements in schools, (students with disabilities) are either forced out of in-person learning altogether or must take on unnecessarily greater health and safety risks than their nondisabled peers," Yeakel wrote.. "Nevertheless, he believes the federal district court’s decision to be flawed and is working with the attorney general’s office to appeal that decision in order to protect Texans' rights against school districts attempting to impose mask mandates.". The rescue plan provided almost $121 billion to help schools return safely to in-person instruction amid the continuing pandemic, including $11 billion allocated to schools in Texas — giving local officials the authority to determine how that money should be spent to address health and safety needs.. "It cannot be more clear that Congress intends that the local school district receiving ARP Act funds be the ultimate decider of the requirements of the safe return to in-person instruction of students," he wrote.. Since the school year began several months ago, at least 45 Texas school districts temporarily closed campuses to contain COVID-19 outbreaks, Yeakel noted, adding that federal health officials recommend universal indoor masking in schools despite the vaccination status of students, employees and visitors.. But Abbott's executive order is a universal ban on mask requirements, handcuffing school officials who determine that limited mandates — for one classroom or building wing, for example, or during one-on-one instruction — would improve the safety of students with disabilities, the judge said.. "GA-38 expressly prohibits a school district from requiring 'any person to wear a face covering,' clearly forbidding such a reasonable modification no matter the scope of a local school’s mask mandate," Yeakel wrote.. Yeakel rejected that line of reasoning, saying Abbott's policy deprives students with disabilities — some of whom have contracted COVID-19 — of their right to equal participation in school.. According to a list maintained by Paxton , 62 school districts and eight public charter schools have mask mandates that he is seeking to overturn, including Austin, Del Valle, Elgin, Manor, Pflugerville, Round Rock and San Marcos in Central Texas.. An American-Statesman analysis in late September found that Central Texas school districts with mask mandates in place since the start of the school year had recorded the fewest cases per 1,000 people since the start of the school year.

Greg Abbott's executive order prohibiting school districts from imposing mask mandates in the classroom, ruling that the policy violated the rights of students with disabilities guaranteed by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and other federal laws.. Yeakel, appointed to the federal bench in 2003 by President George W. Bush, went on to enjoin Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton from enforcing Abbott's order, allowing local school leaders to once again require that their students wear masks.. The judge noted, however, that in recent weeks the attorney general "sent letters threatening school districts that have or have intended to implement mask requirements with civil suits," and in September went on to file six such lawsuits against districts that required masks.. In addition to claiming Abbott's order violated the rights of students with disabilities, Disability Rights Texas also argued that the order was preempted by the American Rescue Plan Act , the $1.9 trillion COVID relief package enacted in March.. As a part of the legislation, Congress allocated over $11 billion to Texas public schools to help with safe school reopenings and required that districts that received federal funding develop and make public a "plan for safe return to in-person instruction.". "It cannot be more clear that Congress intends that the local school district receiving ARP Act funds be the ultimate decider of the requirements of the safe return to in-person instruction of students within that district," he wrote.. Indeed, Yeakel in his opinion pointed to state data showing that more than 210,000 Texas students tested positive for COVID-19 between the beginning of this school year and Oct. 31, and at least 45 Texas school districts were forced to temporarily close due to COVID outbreaks .. In Arizona , CDC researchers found that schools in two of the state's most populous counties were 3.5 times more likely to have COVID-19 outbreaks if they did not have a mask requirement at the start of school compared to schools that required universal masking on day one.. Another CDC study showed that during the first two weeks of the school year, counties without school mask mandates saw a greater increase in pediatric COVID case rates than did counties that required masks at schools.. Despite this, seven states beyond Texas have laws or executive orders prohibiting school districts from requiring masks, though several of those policies have also been struck down in court.. Ron DeSantis for requiring masks, and the department's civil rights division opened up an investigation into several states which prohibit school masking.. Meanwhile, the Department of Justice supported the Texas lawsuit against Abbott, arguing in a formal statement to the court that his order violated the rights of students with disabilities.

One -- the Paris Independent School District, which includes about 3,900 students in northeast Texas -- opted to do so through a loophole designed to get around Abbott's order: It amended the district's dress code for students and employees to require masks.. The local mask mandates have triggered a raft of legal battles in state courts.. The lawsuit says that if "school districts are unable to implement COVID-19 protocol as they each deem appropriate, parents of medically vulnerable students will have to decide whether to keep their children at home or risk placing them in an environment that presents a serious risk to their health and safety," which means "the Governor's Executive Order and TEA's Public Health Guidance unlawfully prevent school districts from complying with the ADA and Section 504's requirement to provide students with disabilities access to a public school education.". "The governor is looking at polls.. He's no longer even talking to his own medical experts," Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins, who sought a far-reaching mask mandate in recent days but was blocked by the Texas Supreme Court from imposing fines on businesses that flout it, said on CNN this week.. Former Rep. Beto O'Rourke of El Paso, a 2018 Texas US Senate candidate and 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful, has used his social media feeds to track school board meetings across the state.. "More school boards will meet tonight, listed below.. Biden said Wednesday that he was directing the US secretary of education to use federal authorities -- and, if necessary, legal action -- against governors "who are trying to block and intimidate local school officials and educators" attempting to protect students from the virus.. One of those cases is Abbott himself: The second-term governor, who has played to his party's base and blocked health mandates intended to slow the pandemic's spread ahead of a reelection bid next year and a potential presidential run in 2024, has tested positive for Covid-19, his office said Tuesday.. The governor's positive test comes amid a spike in Covid-19 cases that has already overwhelmed Texas hospitals as the school year begins.. Earlier this year, he signed an executive order banning local governments -- including school districts -- from requiring masks.

Videos

1. Judge overturns Texas mask mandate ban for schools
(CBS Evening News)
2. Federal Judge Rules Texas Can't Ban Mask Mandates In Schools
(CBSDFW)
3. U.S. judge overrules Texas ban on school masks | ANC
(ANC 24/7)
4. Judge blocks Florida governor’s order banning school mask mandates
(News4JAX)
5. Governor Abbott's executive order banning mask mandates in schools, reinstated
(KIII 3 News)
6. Federal judge says Texas schools can issue their own mask mandates
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