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Federal Judge Grants AG Knudsen’s Request for Injunction Against Head Start Vaccine and Toddler Mask Mandate

A federal judge granted a preliminary injunction against President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine and mask mandates for Head Start programs, Montana Attorney General Knudsen announced today. The mandate required all Head Start staff and volunteers receive the COVID-19 vaccine by January 31 and required children as young as 2-years old to wear a mask.

Attorney General Knudsen and 23 other state attorneys general filed a lawsuit against the mandate and requested the preliminary injunction on December 21, 2021.

“This is a win for Montana’s Head Start programs, which are already stretched thin – and I’ve heard firsthand that this mandate would have made it even worse. It is ridiculous to expect toddlers to wear masks and no one should be forced into getting a vaccine they don’t want,” Attorney General Knudsen said.

Head Start seeks to improve school readiness by providing early childhood education and resources to kids who are largely from low-income families. There are 20 Montana Head Start organizations with 1,500 employees serving families in dozens of communities around the state. A needs assessment conducted earlier this year by the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services found that staff and child recruitment are the most pressing issues facing Head Start programs in Montana.

In addition to Montana, the preliminary injunction issued today prevents the federal government from enforcing the Head Start mandates in Louisiana, Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

Last week, the coalition of attorneys general also filed formal comments in opposition to the mandate with the federal Office of Head Start.

Click here to view the preliminary injunction order.