Feds investigating five states’ bans on school mask requirements

The U.S. Education Department is investigating whether federal anti-discrimination laws are being violated by laws in five states that prevent schools from requiring masks.

The laws are in place in Iowa, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Utah. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said the investigation is in response to parental complaints that the laws "are putting their children at risk and preventing them from accessing in-person learning equally."

Florida, Texas, Arkansas, or Arizona have similar laws, but they are not being investigated because the laws are not currently being enforced.

Meanwhile, an Iowa woman challenging her state’s law has amended her lawsuit to include allegations the law violates state and federal constitutional protections.

Frances Parr’s amended lawsuit alleges the law passed in May violates equal protection and due process rights guaranteed in the federal and state constitutions. The Council Bluff’s woman wants a judge to block enforcement of the law.

Iowa is experiencing a COVID-19 surge. Iowa has during the past month gone from a seven-day moving average of cases of less than 300 a day to more than 1,000 daily, as hospitalizations climb.