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A federal judge on Friday temporarily blocked a Tennessee law that sharply restricts public schools from requiring masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and forbids local officials from making decisions about quarantines.

U.S. District Judge Waverly Crenshaw, noting that the law “offers no protection to students, let alone those that are disabled,” ruled that it cannot be enforced until a lawsuit challenging it is resolved in court.

The lawsuit against the state was filed on behalf of eight students between the ages of seven and 14 who have disabilities and who are deemed by federal health officials as being more vulnerable to serious illness or death if they get COVID-19. The ruling also blocks the law’s provision that says local health and school officials can’t make their own coronavirus quarantining decisions.

“It is also in the public’s interest to slow the spread of COVID-19 in Tennessee’s schools,” Crenshaw wrote in his ruling. “Defendants have proffered absolutely nothing to suggest that any harm would come from allowing individual school districts to determine what is best for their schools, just as they did prior to the enactment of (the law.)”

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