Federal judge says Texas governor’s ban on school mask mandates violates Americans with Disabilities Act

“The unfold of COVID-19 poses an excellent larger threat for youngsters with particular well being wants,” wrote Yeakel, an appointee of former President George W. Bush, in Wednesday’s determination. “Kids with sure underlying situations who contract COVID-19 usually tend to expertise extreme acute organic results and to require admission to a hospital and the hospital’s intensive-care unit.”

The lawsuit, filed by Incapacity Rights Texas in late August, escalated the authorized combat over mask mandates in colleges as college students returned to lecture rooms amid a Covid surge pushed by the Delta variant of the coronavirus. It added to the lengthy record of authorized battles over pandemic coverage within the state.

“Despite nationwide and native steerage urging precaution, Governor Abbott’s Govt Order prohibits native school districts from even contemplating whether or not to implement essentially the most fundamental and efficient COVID-19 prevention technique in school settings,” the lawsuit learn.

The go well with named Texas Schooling Company Commissioner Mike Morath, Paxton and Abbott as defendants. None of their workplaces instantly responded to requests for remark on the ruling.

The Biden administration has labored to discourage states like Texas from issuing such orders, asserting in August that the Schooling Division would use broad powers, together with potential authorized motion, to place a cease to the state’s actions. The department wrote a letter to Texas in September, telling state officers it had opened a civil rights investigation into Abbott’s ban after the Texas Schooling Company launched a memo saying that “school programs can not require college students or workers to put on a mask.”

The letter to Texas was much like ones the administration wrote to different Republican-led states — Iowa, Florida, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Utah — issuing related orders. The division wrote that the bans on mask mandates “could also be stopping colleges in Texas from assembly their authorized obligations to not discriminate based mostly on incapacity and from offering an equal academic alternative to college students with disabilities who’re at heightened threat of extreme sickness from covid-19.”

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