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Professor Doron Dorfman: Students with Disabilities Could Sue Their Schools to Require Masks

Posted on Thursday 8/19/2021
Doron Dorfman

(The Washington Post | Aug. 19, 2021) The school year is upon us, and the mask wars have flared up again. School board meetings attract parents adamantly opposed to their children wearing masks as well as parents, pediatricians and public health experts who say that mask-wearing is crucial to keeping children safe and curbing the pandemic.

Educators face special challenges in those states—including Florida, Arizona, Texas and Iowa—where governments have barred state-funded schools, colleges and universities from requiring their students to wear masks in the classrooms.

While ordinances barring mask mandates are harmful to our community at large, they particularly hurt individuals with certain disabilities such as cancer or various forms of autoimmune diseases who are especially vulnerable to the coronavirus. Which raises a question: Could disability rights law offer a way to cut through the controversy—establishing a legal right for some students (and teachers) to receive the “accommodation” of being protected by masks in schools? We believe the answer is yes ...

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