Federal Judge Grants Temporary Restraining Order, Medical Excuse Required for Mask Exemption

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ERIE – A federal judge issued a temporary restraining order Tuesday requiring that medical documentation must be provided before the Warren County School District can grant a mask exemption.

The WCSD sent out a call blast at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday informing parents that, starting Oct. 6, mask exemptions will not be granted unless students have gone through the 504 and IDEA processes.

The order comes after a group of WCSD students and parents filed a lawsuit Monday against the district, the school board as a whole and each individual board member over the board’s decision to allow parents to sign off on a medical exemption without providing substantiation.

The school board voted 6-3 on Sept. 13 to allow the parent sign-off form, despite the recommendation from three solicitors that the district not take the action.

In the complaint filed Monday, the plaintiffs said the board’s action violated the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s indoor mask order issued Aug. 31.

An evidentiary and preliminary injunction hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 13 at 10 a.m. Witnesses will testify at the hearing and the defendants will need counsel.

Pittsburgh-based attorney Kenneth R. Behrend is representing the plaintiffs.