federal court grants preliminary injunction for immunocompromised students

Court grants injunction for immunocompromised students

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A federal judge has granted a preliminary injunction for 12 students with disabilities who are challenging moves by Gov. Glenn Youngkin and the General Assembly that prevent school districts from using community masking as a COVID-19 prevention strategy.

The plaintiffs argue in Seaman, et al. v. Commonwealth of Virginia, et al, that provisions of Executive Order 2 and Senate Bill 739 violate the federal Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and puts the lives of immunocompromised students at risk.

The preliminary injunction prohibits the state defendants from enforcing Executive Order 2 or SB 739 against the 10 school districts in which the 12 plaintiffs live if those schools make accommodations for the plaintiffs, ensuring safe access to education.

While the injunction is limited to these 12 students, it is clearly a blueprint for any parent of a student with disabilities to assure their school district can make accommodations when the safety of their children is at stake and that state law cannot stand in the way.

“E.O. 2 and S.B. 739—just like any other state law—cannot preclude Plaintiffs from asking for some required masking as a reasonable modification, nor can they bar Plaintiffs’ schools from implementing some required masking, if, in fact, it would constitute a reasonable modification under federal law,” Judge Norman K. Moon of the U.S. District Court of the Western Region wrote.

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, both state agencies and public schools are obligated to provide reasonable modifications to policies, practices, and procedures to give students with disabilities an equal opportunity to benefit from public education.

The parents are represented by the ACLU of Virginia, the Washington Lawyers’ Committee, Brown Goldstein & Levy, the disAbility Law Center of Virginia, and Arnold & Porter.

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