School districts that reject BESE’s mask requirements could be sued

WWL Newsroom
July 15, 2020 - 6:56 am

The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education says they cannot force school districts to have mask mandates, but that rejecting that minimum requirement for reopening could get them sued.

The Governor signed legislation giving schools protection from COVID-related civil suits, but State Superintendent of Education Cade Brumley says that protection can be lost if they reject BESE’s guidelines.

“If systems are going to have relief in terms of liability then they are going to have to demonstrate that they adhere to these minimum standards to the best of their ability,” says Brumley.

That means every adult and student over 3rd grade must be masked up while on school grounds. That liability protection also extends to limitations on bus and classroom capacity, and the other minimum recommendations.

Not everyone is happy about the mandate. Melissa Berry, a Louisiana parent with three kids, testified at Tuesday’s BESE meeting that masks are a hindrance to education because they make it hard to understand people.

“Then you are asking our teachers to teach with that on? I can barely understand you with a mike much less myself with a mask on, for my kids to be taught?” says Berry.

State Health Officer Dr. Joseph Kanter says without mitigation measures like the mask mandate student’s return to school won’t last long.

“If we were to skimp then we would pay the price very early on in the school year with increased spread which leads to classrooms of kids being quarantined at home, absenteeism, and rolling school closures,” says Kanter.

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