KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A federal judge has ruled that the court-ordered mask mandate will remain in place, but will allow Knox County Schools to operate under its previous mask mandate in 2020.
Judge Ronnie Greer has allowed the Knox County Board of Education to utilize last year’s system of exemptions from the mask mandate. In the ruling, Greer stated the school system is under a court-ordered mask mandate, not a voluntary one.
An excerpt from the ruling states, “…the Court fully expects its mask mandate to be exactly that: universal, to every possible extent, with “very few” medical exemptions, as Dr. Yaun said. If the Knox County Board of Education does not comply in good faith with this Order, the Court may impose considerable sanctions against it for civil contempt.
Greer ordered the school district to reinstate a mask mandate following a lawsuit filed by parents of disabled student against Gov. Bill Lee and Knox County claiming their children are “unable to safely attend school without increased risks of serious injury or even death, unlike their nondisabled peers” in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Those on both sides of the mandate argued over the exemptions list with the district opposing Greer’s decision for a list of conditions.
He’s setting the list idea aside and allowing last year’s system of case-by-case mask exemptions, but he expects the mandate to be universal with very few exemptions.