ALEXANDRIA, Ky. — Kentucky’s mask mandate legal battle began Wednesday, less than a day after Gov. Andy Beshear imposed an order requiring people to wear masks inside schools and child care centers.
Attorney General Daniel Cameron filed documents that morning in the Kentucky Supreme Court, challenging that order.
“The Governor does not have to choose between following the science and following the law,” Cameron said. “The two can and should work together."
Elsewhere in the commonwealth, some Northern Kentucky schools began the first day of classes by complying with Beshear's order.
"My granddaughter is in sixth grade, and she's okay with the mask, and I am, too, because there is so much going on right now,” Teri Rankin told us at pickup time outside Campbell County Middle School.
Joan Orme was also there picking up grandchildren. “Exactly, and my husband is ill, and I can’t have the grandkids coming in and bringing us something we can’t handle, you know?” said Orme.
Beshear said his order aims to protect those who can’t get the vaccine.
He put the mandate in place after some school administrators indicated they would not follow his administration — and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's — recommendation that students and staff mask indoors. His mandate requires everyone 2 years old and up to cover their nose and mouth while inside.
Exceptions include: those sleeping, those who can’t remove the covering on their own, any person with a disability or impairment that prevents them from wearing one, those deaf or hard of hearing trying to communicate. To see a complete list of exceptions, click here.
“With the younger kids, it just seems difficult,” said Liz Reeder, a mother from Wilder with a 2- and a 4-year-old.
“It just seems like a hard decision if you’re not going to get good compliance from people,” she said.
Attorney General Cameron’s challenge points to a Boone County Circuit Court injunction from June, which centers on Beans Café & Baker’s complaint about mask mandates. Plus, AG Cameron said, lawmakers voted to restrict the governor’s power in the 2021 session.
“If he believes that the science requires a statewide mask mandate for schools and childcare centers, then he needs to do what the law requires and work with the General Assembly to put the necessary health precautions in place," Cameron said.
WCPO 9News checked each of the major Northern Kentucky school districts. Administrators from each district say they are following the governor's mandate.