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Judge dismisses request to stop NH school mask mandates

Associated Press
Published: 10/20/2021 6:04:53 PM

A judge dismissed a request to stop enforcing a mask-wearing policy at a number of school districts in New Hampshire’s Rockingham County.

Parents of children in the districts alleged in a lawsuit filed in August that wearing masks causes their children to have difficulty breathing, develop facial acne and rashes, suffer anxiety and experience headaches.

The parents challenged the legality of mask mandates on the grounds that they violate a state law prohibiting the use of “dangerous restraint techniques” in schools; that the school districts lack the authority to issue mask mandates and that the state Health Department’s authority under regulations concerning communicable diseases conflicts with the mandates.

Rockingham County Superior Court Judge Marguerite Wageling ruled on Saturday that the plaintiffs haven’t established a likelihood of success on their arguments.

The parents sued school districts in Exeter, Brentwood, Kensington, and Stratham.

Request to withdraw federal funding ask

New Hampshire’s health and human services commissioner asked a legislative fiscal committee to withdraw her requests for the acceptance of $27 million in federal COVID-19 vaccination funding that was rejected by the Executive Council.

Both the council and the Joint Legislative Fiscal Committee needed to approve the funding for the state to accept and use funding that would have created 13 new positions to facilitate vaccination efforts.

The Department of Health and Human Services expects to bring alternative federal funding requests to both groups, a department spokesperson told WMUR.

Both items – one for $22.5 million and the other for $4.5 million – had been tabled by the council and committee after Republican members expressed deep concern that accepting the funds would have bound the state to follow federal directives and mandates related to COVID-19, including “quarantine and isolation.”

Attorney General John Formella said that wasn’t the case.

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