OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – As hospitals across the state continue to struggle amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, some people are turning their focus to an Oklahoma law that prevents school districts from implementing mask mandates on campus.
Senate Bill 658 prohibits Oklahoma schools from requiring students and staff to a wear a face mask unless Gov. Stitt issues a state of emergency due to the pandemic.
Last month, the Oklahoma State Medical Association and parents of public school students filed an injunction to stop the measure.
The lawsuit states that they want schools to be able to require masks in order to prevent outbreaks of COVID-19 and protect students and staff members from the virus.
Some of the parents included in the lawsuit say their children are immunocompromised and they are concerned about their safety in the classroom due to the measure.
On Wednesday, the case was heard at the Oklahoma County Courthouse.
The court granted the temporary injunction against SB 658, but it doesn’t go into effect until Sept. 8.
“We are pleased with the outcome of today’s hearing; however, this is just a first step in ensuring our schools maintain local control and can choose the best path for their students, faculty and staff. It’s important to remember that while we’ve seen how easily COVID can spread in schools, the virus doesn’t stay within the school walls. For each infected student, there is a risk of additional infections amongst their friends, family and the community. We must all do our part to keep the community safe. This includes allowing our schools and businesses the freedom to develop mitigation efforts that can slow the spread of this terrible virus,” said Dr. Mary Clarke, president, Oklahoma State Medical Association.
On Twitter, Gov. Stitt said the ruling was about parental choice.
“Today’s ruling on SB 658 in Oklahoma District Court is a victory for parental choice, personal responsibility and the rule of law. I have been clear from the beginning that parents should have the right to make decisions about the health and education of their children.”