Connecticut student mask requirement challenged in court by parents

The parents named in the filing are Jenna Matos, whose children aged 5 and 7 attend a parochial school in Manchester, and Raena Ferguson of East Lyme, whose 14-year-old child attends the local high school.

In this Aug. 5, 2020, file photo, wearing masks to prevent the spread of COVID19, elementary school students use hand sanitizer before entering school for classes in Godley, Texas.

NEW BRITAIN, Conn. (AP) — Two Connecticut parents filed an appeal in state court challenging a Department of Education requirement that students returning to classrooms this fall wear face masks.

The appeal filed Friday in Superior Court in New Britain seeks to have the department rescind the requirement to wear face coverings and to issue an order stating that neither the department nor local school districts can impose such a requirement, according to the Hartford Courant.

“The Defendants’ requirements regarding the use of face coverings, masks, and face shields in schools … place an unconstitutional burden and restriction on the Plaintiffs’ fundamental right to an education, and is a denial of their right to equal protection of the law,” according to the filing.

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An email seeking comment was sent Saturday to the state Department of Education.

The parents named in the filing are Jenna Matos, whose children aged 5 and 7 attend a parochial school in Manchester, and Raena Ferguson of East Lyme, whose 14-year-old child attends the local high school. The parents were joined in the appeal by the Connecticut Freedom Alliance.

The mask requirement was included in a plan the education department released this summer stipulating certain rules schools must follow if they open for in-person learning this fall.

Department of Education Commissioner Miguel Cardona said earlier this month that more than 55% of the state’s school districts are planning to offer full, in-person learning in the fall semester, while 44% are planning some form of hybrid learning, which could include some buildings offering full, in-person learning for younger students.

Officials have said any parent who wants their child to take classes entirely online this year will have that option.

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