Doe 1, et al., v. Upper St. Clair School Dist., et al.
Doe 1, et al., v. Upper St. Clair School Dist., et al. (U.S. Court of Appeals, 3rd Cir., Jan. 23, 2022): The Third Circuit Court of Appeals ordered a school district to temporarily maintain its mask mandate pending allegations from parents of children with disabilities that the mask-optional policy is a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The parents claim the policy forces students with disabilities to choose between an increased risk of contracting COVID-19 and attending less effective online classes. The District Court held that the parents likely did not have standing to challenge the policy because they were unlikely to be able to demonstrate actual injury; mere risk is insufficient. Additionally, the District Court held that the parents’ request for a policy indefinitely mandating masks would likely not be a reasonable accommodation. Without a substantive opinion, the Third Circuit reversed the District Court, reinstating the mandate. Notably, in a separate case with a different judge presiding, the District Court sided with the parents and ordered the mandate to remain in place pending trial. The Third Circuit is likely to issue a more formal decision as this case progresses. Read the Third Circuit’s order here and the full District Court opinion here.