Image sourced by NASHP.org
Today, 45 out of 50 States + D.C. allow for local county mask mandates, either legislatively or through executive orders, empowering the local county Department of Health &/or School Superintendent with the discretion to implement mask mandates, with only 3 states allowing parental opt-out.
5 states have a statewide ban on mask mandates including Arizona**, Florida, Tennessee**, Texas**, Utah*, and Virginia*. *Utah and Virginia allow local county decision making on mask mandates but allows student opt-out. **States fighting lawsuits in jeopardy of reversal.
4 States passed a mask mandate ban currently suspended under judge’s orders, allowing for student opt-out until a final ruling is made including Iowa, Oklahoma, *Georgia, and South Carolina. Arkansas passed a law, but it was completely struck down. *Governor ordered local discretion to be allowed, nullifying their bill.
Regardless of whether you live in a red or blue state, most states have no protection for masking and muzzling our students or faculty.
Private and charter schools that do not receive federal or state subsidies, and where the local health department is not the decision maker, have the best chance of avoiding local mask mandates!
Click here for a guide to Public School Exit!
State Governors and Legislators have kicked the can down to local jurisdictions to take the political heat on this issue. It’s time to put them back in the hot seat!
Department of Health Jurisdiction
In 14 states allowing student mask mandates, the local health department has been appointed as the governing body to determine student mask policy based on local discretion or local CDC guidelines. Your Mayor and City Council can and should be called upon to ban mask mandates, or at least allow parental opt-out without restrictions as a faster track to secure freedom from mask mandates.
These states include Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Washington, and Wisconsin.
Department of Education Jurisdiction
In 21 states allowing student mask mandates, the local school district has been appointed as the governing body to determine student mask policy based on their local discretion. Your School Superintendent and local School Board can implement mask mandate ban policies and should be solicited to put safeguards into place.
These states include Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, S. Carolina, S. Dakota, Tennessee, W. Virginia, and Wyoming.
It would appear many judges are legislating at the bench and are inclined to force law makers to allow for local jurisdiction discretion. Any legislation put forth must secure a student’s right to opt-out which seems to be holding regardless of efforts for statewide bans.
We must keep fighting to hold our Governors and State Legislators accountable to get back to the drawing board, correct challenged laws, and protect states that are currently defenseless to deliver protections for our students and faculty!