New documents filed in Knox County lawsuit against Gov. Lee, county seeking mask mandate in schools



KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Several Knox County families are continuing to pursue legal action against Gov. Bill Lee over his executive order allowing parents to opt kids out of school mask mandates.

A federal court judge denied a temporary restraining order against Gov. Bill Lee’s mask opt-out executive order requested by three parents of Knox County Schools students in a lawsuit, saying the plaintiffs did not demonstrate they would suffer immediate and irreparable injury or loss.

Judge Ronnie Greer did set a hearing for Wednesday, Sept. 15, for arguments on the rest of the case.

Lawyers have now filed new affidavits to support their arguments and added a fourth plaintiff to the lawsuit. All four of the parents of Knox County Schools students included in the lawsuit state that their child suffers from medical conditions that put them at increased risk of serious illness or death from COVID-19.

Among the affidavits are declarations in support of school mask mandates from two Knox County teachers with underlying health conditions that say they are more susceptible to serious death or injury from COVID-19.

One of the teachers named in the affidavit said she resigned from her position after 11 years with Knox County Schools due to the increased risk of COVID-19 without a mask mandate in place.

Doctors at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center and LeBonheur Medical Center in Memphis also offered declarations of support in the lawsuit, stating that masks are an important component of mitigating the spread of COVID-19 and allowing children to participate in in-person instruction without the heightened risk of community transmission.

This is a developing story. Download the WATE 6 News app for updates sent to your phone.

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