Georgia AG: Judge grants injunction for vaccine, mask mandate in Head Start program

FILE - In this Sept. 16, 2021, file photo Pre-K teacher Vera Csizmadia teaches 3-and 4-year-old students in her classroom at the Dr. Charles Smith Early Childhood Center in Palisades Park, N.J. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File) (Mary Altaffer, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A federal judge in Louisiana has temporarily stopped a federal vaccine and mask mandate for Head Start programs in 24 states, according to Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr.

The multi-state lawsuit, which Georgia and Florida are a part of, said the federal mandates were unconstitutional. It also said that if the mandate were allowed to stand, thousands of Head Start staff nationwide risk losing their jobs and volunteers would be deterred from giving their time to the program.

Head Start is a federally-funded program that promotes school readiness for preschool-age children in underserved communities across the country.

The mandate on the program required staff, volunteers, and contractors to be vaccinated and required children older than 2 to wear a mask at all times except when eating, drinking, or napping. The only exemption available for children is if they have a disability that prevents them from wearing one.

The injunction granted Saturday temporarily halts those rules.

The States of Louisiana, Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Wyoming, and West Virginia are all part of the multi-state lawsuit.