SALT LAKE CITY – A group of pediatricians are asking a judge to block a Utah law prohibiting schools from issuing K-12 mask warrants.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has filed a “friend of the court” brief in a lawsuit brought by a parent group and the Concerned Coalition of Utah challenging Utah laws that severely restrict mask mandates in schools for the COVID-19 pandemic. In their case, the organization urges the judge to grant a restraining order that prevents the application of the law.
âUniversal mask policies dramatically reduce the risk of death and serious illness among Utah’s school-aged population and their families, and particularly among children with health conditions such as complainants,â said the group in its amicus folder. âHB 1007 places applicants and all other parents with an untenable choice: either send children to schools where they are at high risk of contracting COVID-19, or keep them home from school with the harm that as a result for their social, emotional and educational development. . “
The parents sued after the legislature passed a pair of bills related to COVID-19 in schools, arguing that the restrictions against masking undermine their at-risk children’s right to an education under the Utah Constitution. HB1007 specifically prohibits schools from issuing mask warrants. Under another law, a local health department can issue a masking order – but a county council or county commission can vote to overturn it.
In Grand County, the commission confirmed a K-12 masking order issued by the Southeast Utah Department of Public Health. The Salt Lake County Council overturned a K-6 Order issued by the Salt Lake County Department of Health.
Utah Attorney General’s Office and Salt Lake County asked a judge to dismiss the lawsuit and dismiss the request for a restraining order.
The AAP argues in its case that COVID-19 is more harmful to children with special needs who also benefit more from in-person education. The group said it supports policies of universal masking in schools.
âMask-wearing is not linked to emotional or psychological damage, particularly when caregivers promote positive associations around mask-wearing. Although children can develop secondary anxieties about mask-wearing, it’s no different than being able to develop secondary anxieties about eating, going to school or any other activity, âthe group said. âThe risk of developing secondary anxiety, disorderly behavior or refusal to go to school related to masking can be especially high when parents or community members perpetuate false claims that masks are harmful. there is nothing intrinsic about wearing a mask that makes it particularly harmful, either physically, socially or emotionally. “
A judge of the 3rd District Court of Salt Lake City has yet to schedule a hearing on the parents and the Concerned Coalition of Utah’s request for a restraining order preventing laws from being enforced.
Read the dossier here: