Lubbock ISD v. Biden Administration in court Thursday, judge plans ruling Friday or Monday

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FILE – In this May 18, 2021 file photo, fifth graders wear face masks are seated at proper social distancing spacing during a music class at the Milton Elementary School in Rye, N.Y. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)

LUBBOCK, Texas — Lawyers for the Lubbock ISD, the State of Texas and the Biden Administration had a federal court hearing Thursday in Lubbock.

The LISD and Texas sued the Biden Administration in mid-December in an effort to stop mask and vaccine mandates in the Head Start program. LISD seeks a nationwide temporary restraining order and injunction.

Ahead of the hearing, the federal government filed a brief with the court. It said the mask and vaccine mandates in the Head Start program are legally justified and necessary to stop or slow the spread of deadly COVID-19. The administration also said a nationwide injunction is uncalled for.

Lubbock ISD filed a brief ahead of the hearing saying the Biden Administration exceeded its authority and the mandates might do more harm than good. For one thing, LISD and Texas claim that firing staff who refuse to get vaccinated will exacerbate staff shortages. They also claim masks are detrimental to language development in small children.

During the hearing, lawyers presented statements in court for both sides. Lawyers for LISD said the mandates could impact enrollment in the Head Start program. Lawyers for the administration said the mandate was well justified and Head Start typically has a waiting list. The administration believes the benefits outweigh the possible drawbacks.

Then the judge said he would consider the various statements and provide a ruling on the request for a temporary restraining order either Friday or Monday.

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(Katie Gray contributed to this story.)

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