A new lawsuit has been launched against Governor Andrew Cuomo, New York State Department of Health, and a school district, over forcing children to wear masks at school.

The plaintiff is a mother of two children affected by mask mandates at Locust Valley Central School District. Her suit claims there are both known, and unknown, health risks of mandating face masks on school children that are causing her children physical and emotional injuries, and irreparable harm. They also cite a lack of scientific evidence that masks prevent the spread of respiratory disease.

In a previous freedom of information request to the Department of Health it was revealed that the agency has no documents proving that masks work to stop disease, and no documents proving that they are safe for people to wear.

Her attorney is petitioning for a temporary restraining order. Locust Valley School District (one of the respondents) is NOT contesting the order. It is now up to the state to defend their position of mandating masks.

This lawsuit is not only on behalf of the mother’s school-aged children, but all other children similarly situated.

Since the school year is ending some think this is a non-issue and that masking will not return next year. However on March 11, 2021, the American Rescue Plan Act was signed into law. With $122 billion dollars to be allocated to state education agencies and school districts.

In order to qualify for funding, school districts and community schools must post a “Safe Return to In-Person and Continuity of Services Plan” on their websites by June 24 2021.

The school plan must include information about the extent to which the school or school system intends to address Centers for Disease Control Guidance in these areas:

·        universal and correct wearing of masks

·        physical distancing (e.g. including use of cohorts/podding)

·        handwashing and respiratory etiquette

·        cleaning and maintaining healthy facilities including improving ventilation

·        contact tracing in combination with isolation and quarantine, in collaboration with the state, local, territorial, or tribal health departments

·        diagnostic and screening testing

·        efforts to improve vaccinations to educators, other staff, and students

Schools are required to review and revise their plan if necessary at least every 6 months through September 30, 2023. It seems the federal government and the schools intend to be engaged in COVID management for at least another 26 months.

Lockwood Law

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