Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt is responding to a growing number of school districts re-instating mask mandates following an increase in cases of the Omicron variant of COVID-19.
On Tuesday morning, Schmitt issued the following statement addressing districts who he says continue to illegally enforce mask mandates and quarantine orders despite a ruling by a Cole County judge that applies to districts throughout Missouri.
“School districts have never been given the authority by the legislature to enact public health orders like mask mandates or quarantine orders – the recent Cole County judgment just further affirms that fact. The decision to mask children in school should rest solely with parents and families. Last month, I informed a number of school districts that their decision to continue to enforce mask mandates is illegal and must be stopped immediately. Some school districts dropped their mask mandates and quarantine orders, but others continue to defy the law, despite the fact that COVID-19 poses very little risk to children. My Office is currently finalizing lawsuits against all non-compliant districts to end the forced masking of schoolchildren, which will be filed later this week. It’s far past time that the power to make health decisions concerning children be pried from the hands of bureaucrats and put back into the hands of parents and families, and I will take school district after school district to court to achieve that goal.”
The Springfield School District is going back to a mask requirement for staff and visitors, but not for students.
Columbia Public Schools will require everyone to wear a mask indoors, the the temporary requirement in effect through February 4th.
Jefferson City Public Schools is also starting a temporary mask requirement Tuesday, and Jeff City Helias will begin one Wednesday.