Oklahoma is among five states being investigated by the US Education Department for possible civil rights violations related to banning mask mandates in schools, which it says may discriminate against students with disabilities and compromised immune systems.
Students with disabilities are at a heightened risk for severe illness from COVID-19 and a ban on mask mandates prevents them from safely accessing in-person education, the department alleges. Schools have a legal obligation “not to discriminate based on disability and from providing an equal educational opportunity to students with disabilities,” a letter sent to all five states reads.
Along with that, the investigation will look at whether statewide prohibitions on universal indoor masking violate Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.
Meanwhile, a group of Republican Oklahoma lawmakers are meeting at the state Capitol today at 10:30 a.m. to “discuss their fight against vaccine mandates in hospital staff and other Oklahoma workers.” The group wants to pass a law so the state government forces small and large businesses to not require their workers or customers to wear masks or be vaccinated.