School district to pay $145K to settle masking lawsuit

April 19, 2022 GMT

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A Tennessee school district has agreed to pay $145,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by parents who objected to the district’s decision to drop mask requirements this year during the coronavirus pandemic.

The agreement was reached Monday after hours of mediation, news outlets reported. The money from the Knox County Board of Education will go to pay attorney fees for the parents who filed the lawsuit on behalf of students with disabilities for protection against COVID-19. Neither party admitted wrongdoing.

The Knox County board adopted a mask mandate during the 2020-21 school year but chose not to this year despite COVID-19 numbers that remained high when classes began.

Senior U.S. District Judge Ronnie Greer ordered the school system to adopt a mask mandate in September to help protect children with health problems more susceptible to the coronavirus pandemic. He temporarily lifted the requirement last month after the Knox County Board of Education and families involved in the lawsuit requested it amid decreasing virus cases.

The dismissal means Greer’s order has expired and there will no longer be any mask rules in the school district.