Judge blocks Biden’s mask mandate for kids in Head Start programs

Judge blocks Biden’s mask mandate for kids in Head Start programs
Image: nunosilvaphotography/Shutterstock

On September 21, a judge in Louisiana struck down the Biden administration’s mask and vaccine mandates for children and staff in Head Start.

“Although vaccines arguably serve the public interest, the liberty interests of individuals mandated to take the COVID-19 vaccine outweigh any interest generated by the mandatory administration of vaccines,” wrote U.S. District Judge Terry Doughty.

Head Start is a federal preschool program for low-income families. In 2021, the Biden administration issued a regulation imposing a mask mandate for all children over 2, and requiring that all teachers and staff involved in the program get a coronavirus vaccine.

Such a policy is not scientifically justifiable, and outmoded: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention no longer prescribes general mask-wearing. Most U.S. schools are now mask-free, aside from a few progressive urban areas. By mandating masks for Head Start participants, the federal government has effectively imposed class-based double standards, in which kids from low-income families will be the only ones still wearing masks.

Judge Doughty’s decision underscores that the pandemic is over, and the federal government has neither the authority nor the logic needed to impose such mandates.

The lawsuit against the Head Start mask mandate was brought by the Liberty Justice Center on behalf of Head Start staff. Because the challengers came from only 24 of the 50 states, the judge issued an injunction against the the mask mandate that only applies to those 24 states: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

The federal government could appeal the decision to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, but if it loses, there is a chance that the injunction would be broadened to cover the whole country. The Biden administration may not want to risk that, so it might not appeal the judges decision against its mask mandate.

LU Staff

LU Staff

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