The lawsuit claims that the Biden administration lacks the authority to require that Head Start teachers, contractors, and volunteers receive coronavirus vaccinations by January 31.
Utah has joined another lawsuit against the Biden administration’s vaccine mandates.
According to Deseret News, the latest multi-state challenge to the White House’s coronavirus rules relates to the requirement that Head Start students wear masks, and that staff and volunteers in such programs be fully vaccinated.
In their complaint, Utah—along with 23 other state attorneys general—alleges that, not only is Head Start beyond the executive branch’s authority, but that forcing masks on students and vaccinations upon staff is an arbitrary, capricious, and unconstitutional abuse of power.
“Forcing masks on 2-year-olds and vaccines on Head Start teachers will cost jobs and impede child development,” Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes said in a statement. “Not only is the Head Start mandate unlawful, but it will deprive low-income families and rural communities in Utah of these vital services.”
Head Start, adds The Deseret News, provides early-education and childcare resources to underserved children and families, including supervision services, schooling, and sanitary supplies.
Reyes says that the “forced vaccination” of Head Start staff and volunteers will “cost jobs.”
In a separate statement, Tennessee Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III—another party to the lawsuit—blasted the Biden administration’s so-called “one-size-fits-all” approaches to the coronavirus pandemic.
“We have consistently opposed mandates in the context of education, defending state statutes passed by our General Assembly. This challenge is consistent with our past positions, especially in the context of education. Again, these are issues best prescribed by states who are responsible for the safety and health of their citizens and who are most familiar with circumstances facing educators. The ‘one size fits all’ approach is not workable,” Slatery said.
President Biden, however, has touted his vaccine requirements—part of a broader, six-point plan for normalization—as critical to the safety of individual students, family, and education staff.
Biden has since charged the federal Department of Health and Human Services with ensuring compliance.
“This action will help schools and early childhood centers remain safely open and give comfort to the many parents that rely on them every day to keep their children safe,” the White House said in a press release.
Utah, notes the Deseret News, is now involved in four separate lawsuits against the Biden administration’s vaccine mandates, which affect businesses with more than 100 employees, federal contractors, healthcare professionals who work with Medicare and Medicaid patients, and Head Start.
If the administration’s requirement stands, all teachers, contractors, and volunteers in Head Start programs will need to be vaccinated by the end of January.