Oklahoma Supreme Court Agrees To Expedite Mask Appeal

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The Oklahoma Supreme Court will expedite an appeal of an injunction limiting a ban on mask mandates in public schools.

The court, in an order dated Wednesday, placed the appeal on its fast-track docket, giving Attorney General John O’Connor 20 days to file briefs in the case and opponents 20 days to respond.

The appeal argued the law passed earlier this year by the Legislature is constitutional.

“The Legislature may reasonably exercise its ... power over public schools without regulating private schools,” the filing said. The appeal also said the state is immune from the lawsuit filed by the Oklahoma State Medical Association and four parents.

District Judge Natalie Mai cited the fact the law did not apply to private schools in approving the temporary injunction.

Mai’s ruling allows for exemptions to mask requirements for medical or personal reasons, which Oklahoma State Medical Association President Dr. Mary Clarke says some schools have adopted.

“It’s disappointing to see the Attorney General appeal a decision that even Gov. Stitt supported," Clarke said in a statement. “We’ve seen several schools implement masking programs with opt-out clauses.”

Stitt, who called Mai's ruling “a victory for parental choice,” did not immediately respond to a request for comment.