Oklahoma Supreme Court to fast-track mask-mandate case πŸ’₯πŸ‘©πŸ‘©πŸ’₯

Oklahoma’s new attorney general has just a few weeks to get together his argument in defense of the state law prohibiting schools from mandating masks.
(Photo by Kelly Sikkema via Unsplash)

OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma’s new attorney general has just a few weeks to get together his argument in defense of the state law prohibiting schools from mandating masks. The Oklahoma Supreme Court on Wednesday agreed to fast-track his appeal of a district court ruling that freed schools to impose mask mandates.

The Oklahoma State Medical Association, joined by four parents, brought suit against the state, opposing a law passed earlier this year that prohibits schools from requiring students to wear masks. Since the law applied only to public schools and not private schools, District Judge Natalie Mai approved a temporary injunction of the law.

Under the injunction, schools may impose mask mandates with exceptions for medical or personal reasons. At the time, Gov. Kevin Stitt issued a statement on social media calling Mai’s ruling a β€œvictory for parental choice, personal responsibility and the rule of law.”

Yet, the matter has been appealed to the Oklahoma Supreme Court, where it will be the job of Attorney General John O’Connor to defend the constitutionality of the legislative ban on mask mandates. The Supreme Court gave O’Connor 20 days to file briefs in the case. Those opposing the law will have 20 days to respond.

The Oklahoma State Medical Association released a statement questioning why O’Connor continues to fight for the ban on mask mandates in schools.

β€œIt’s disappointing to see the Attorney General appeal a decision that even Gov. Stitt supported,” said Oklahoma State Medical Association President Mary Clarke, M.D. β€œIn the weeks since Judge Mai’s temporary injunction on SB 658, we’ve seen several schools implement masking programs with opt-out clauses. And while some families did choose to opt out, the numbers have been very low.

β€œWhat we have seen instead is a wonderful example of schools choosing the path that is best for them to keep their students, staff and faculty safe,” Clarke said. β€œWe applaud their efforts and will continue to support any common-sense action that works to lower the COVID-19 infection rates in Oklahoma.”

The science on the effect that mask wearing has on children continues to be hotly contested issue. On Thursday, state Sen. Rob Standridge, R-Norman, sent a letter to O’Connor requesting he inform local school boards and administrators of the potential harm to students wearing masks.

Standridge cited information from the World Health Organization in claiming that masks may be contaminated by hands, may contribute to teenage acne, and may engender a false sense of security that causes students to relax in their efforts at hand-washing and distancing.

WHO recommends that children ages 12 and older should wear a face mask in the same situations an adult should.

In May, the CDC issued a report based on data collected last fall that found COVID-19 incidence was 37% lower in schools that required teachers and staff members to use masks, and 39% lower in schools that improved ventilation.

Oklahoma Supreme Court to fast-track mask-mandate case

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