Missouri attorney general orders schools and public health agencies to stop masks and quarantine mandates

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt asked local public health agencies and school districts to suspend mask and quarantine mandates following a recent court decision nullifying the ability of health officials to impose such orders.

Last month, a Cole County judge said Missouri Health Department regulations – which allowed the state health director and local health agencies to implement “control measures” – were unconstitutional. The regulation had allowed directors of health to close schools or places of public assembly in the interest of protecting public health during the Covid-19 pandemic, but Judge Daniel Green ruled the existing orders invalid.

In two letters to public health agencies and School districts, Schmitt said all mask or quarantine orders, or similar measures, issued under previous laws are now void and cannot be enforced. The letters urged immediate action and warned of the potential consequences if these orders continue to be enforced.

Public health authorities and school districts have gone unchecked, issuing illegal and unconstitutional orders in their quest to consolidate, maintain and exercise their newfound power. My office will enforce the court order statewide,” Schmitt said.

The COVID-19 pandemic has sparked a fierce debate in Missouri over local control and the powers local governments and health agencies have to impose masks, closures or capacity limits. The crescendo of Missouri Republicans concerned about the impact of local public health orders resulted in a new state law this year which set time restrictions on how long certain ordinances can remain in place without the approval of a local governing body.

“This case concerns whether the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services regulations can abolish representative government in the creation of public health laws, and whether they can authorize the closing of a school or assembly based on the unfettered opinion of an unelected official,” Green said. noted. “This Court finds that it cannot.”

“The DHSS regulations break up our three-pronged system of government in a way that a middle school civics student would recognize, because they place the creation of ordinances or laws, and the enforcement of those laws, between the hands of an unelected administrative official.”

Schmitt, a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate, led the challenge against school mask mandates and local communities also the federal government vaccine requirements.