Federal Judge stands ground in Knox County Schools mask ruling

This comes after the Knox County Board of Education stated in a previous motion to amend the court’s judgment.
Published: Oct. 18, 2021 at 12:53 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Federal Judge Ronnie Greer, who ordered Knox County Schools to implement a mask mandate, responded in the legal back-and-forth with the school system Monday morning. Judge Greer said the mask ruling would stand despite previous concerns from the school system, citing that KCS had no legal ground.

Previously, the Knox County Board of Education filed a motion to amend the court’s judgment by saying newly discovered evidence established that the mask mandate had placed an undue burden on the school system and the mask mandate constituted a clear error of law.

“The Knox County Board of Education, however, cites no legal grounds—statutes, regulations, or case law—by which the Court can determine, under the facts it now describes to the Court, that the mask mandate is causing it to endure an undue administrative burden,” the court documents stated.

Judge Ronnie Greer originally put the masking mandate in place after a group of Knox County families said the lack of a masking policy put their children at risk and sued the school district. The original masking policy set forth by Judge Greer only allowed exceptions for those with autism or tracheotomies.

On Oct. 12, Judge Greer ruled that KCS could enforce last year’s masking policy with some caveats.

Last year’s masking policy allowed students and staff to exempt themselves from the mandate if they had written cause from a doctor. The new ruling now requires the Knox County Board of Education to submit monthly reports for anyone who obtains an exemption. The report must include the person’s name, the reason for exemption and must say whether or not they were exempt from last year’s mandate.

You can read the response in full here:

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