Schools debate vaccine, mask mandates as students ask Supreme Court to weigh in


CHICAGO (NewsNation Now)— For several states, the start of the school year is just weeks away, and the debate over masking and vaccinating students continues.

The Supreme Court is being asked to block Indiana University’s requirements for students and employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19. It’s the first time the high court has been asked to weigh in on a vaccine mandate.

It’s a move that faculty says will protect the student body this fall. However, eight students are arguing it’s a violation of their constitutional rights.

Meanwhile, this same debate between personal freedom and public safety is happening in every state.

From pre-school to college, school leaders are faced with a new dilemma — to require students and staff to wear a mask and be vaccinated.

“I think we have a very robust safety protocol here at our campus, and it starts all the way from entering the campus,” said Eduardo Varelafacio, principal of La Joya Idea College Prep in Texas.

“He was getting a sore throat, like all of our children, from wearing masks day in and day out,” said a parent who is against masking.

The debate has spread from inside the schoolhouse to Capitol Hill and even the Supreme Court.

President Joe Biden asked Republican governors to “get out of the way” of efforts to contain coronavirus outbreaks. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis fired back.

“I’m the governor who protects parents’ choices for their kid’s education,” DeSantis said.

On Friday, the Florida Board of Education decided to give private school vouchers to parents who feel their local public school mask requirement is harassing children.

Meanwhile, in Arkansas, Gov. Hutchinson is changing course — first, he banned mask mandates for public schools across the state, as more people died from the virus. Now, he wants to amend act 10-02, which allows parents to make that choice.

“We’re pushing the vaccines out, but those under 12 cannot get vaccinated in the schools. And so I realized that we needed to have more options for our local school districts to protect those children…it was an error to sign that law,” Hutchinson said Sunday on CBS Face the Nation.

Now the Supreme Court is being asked to block a plan by Indiana University to require students and employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Their decision could create a standard across the nation.

Under the current vaccination policy at Indiana University, workers who do not comply will lose their jobs, and students will have their registration canceled.

The policy does allow for medical and religious exemptions, but a person must be tested twice a week for COVID-19.

NewsNation spoke with Dr. Timothy Quinn, a family physician in Mississippi, about COVID-19 cases in kids. See the interview in the player below.

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