ST. LOUIS — Missouri’s Attorney General isn’t waiting for school districts to re-evaluate their masking policies after a Cole County judge ruled that public health orders related to the COVID pandemic are unconstitutional.
Eric Schmitt sent letters to school districts and public health agencies across Missouri saying they must rescind and stop enforcing public health orders like mask mandates and quarantines.
Specifically, Schmitt contends that school officials don’t have the authority to enact or enforce health orders. He said if school districts and public health agencies don’t rescind the orders, he may take legal action against them including potential lawsuits.
“What this provides is a reset for us at this point, to get back to a place where individuals and families and parents can make these decisions,” Schmitt said.
“If they want to send their kid to school in a mask, they can do that. If they don’t want to send their kid to school, they do not have to do that. I mean, this is still America and I think people are tired of this.”
On Wednesday, Schmitt announced he was specifically asking for parents to contact his office.
“We’ve heard from parents that school districts are continuing to enforce mask mandates and quarantine orders, in violation of the recent Cole County order,” Schmitt said in a news release.
“To enable parents to voice their concerns freely about continued mask mandates and quarantine orders, and ensure that those concerns are heard and investigated properly, we have set up an email inbox, firstname.lastname@example.org, for parents to communicate directly with the Attorney General’s Office. Parents are sick and tired of the stonewalling from their school districts, and so am I.”
In a letter to parents Tuesday, the Lee’s Summit School District said it doesn’t need to reevaluate its mask mandate because the court ruling only addressed mandates that were not approved by an elected body.
The district said the attorney general’s letter does not impact LSR7 because its mask mandate was approved by the school board.
Lee’s Summit said it hasn’t made any changes to its mask or quarantine protocols. All students, staff and visitors to elementary schools must wear masks indoors through Dec. 21. Quarantine protocols will also continue, according to the district.
Kansas City Public Schools also said the attorney general’s letter won’t change its approach because its school board made the decision to implement a mask mandate.
Kansas City, Missouri, also has a mask requirement for school buildings, which was approved by elected officials.
Both school districts said they review COVID-19 protocols and guidance regularly and said that their mandates will be enforced through the end of the semester.
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