We are grateful that the Judge recognized the significant and irreparable harm being suffered by
children in this state who are subject to mandatory mask wearing in schools for up to 8 hours a day. As
the Judge stated: “The Court finds that these children are suffering and reasonably infers that children
across the state are suffering with the mask mandate.”

The Judge recognized that these parents presented evidence and arguments “sufficient to establish a
reasonable, good-faith policy disagreement with [the state’s] approach to combating COVID-19.” The
Judge found also that “Dr. McDonald indicated that some other states’ surgeon generals opposed
masking ”. What is most distressing is that the Judge found that Dr. McDonald and the Department of
Health “had not done a “cost-benefit analysis” when considering masking.” As was stated by Dr.
McDonald in his testimony, no child in RI has died because of Covid-19.

Of course we are disappointed in the decision which appears to give the Governor and Department of
Health unlimited powers overriding parents and their children’s health concerns. This is particularly true where there have been no public hearings to debate the efficacy of masks in schools in stopping the
spread of Covid-19, or the harm being suffered by children in schools being forced to wear masks. We
are encouraged by the Judge’s admonition that Courts may not give to the Department of Health a
“bottomless pit of deference” to its emergency rules in the future. We will be reviewing the decision and
our options for appeal in due course

Related: AG Candidate Chas Calenda Reacts To Judge Lanphear Decision In School Mask Lawsuit

 

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