FRANKFORT, Ky. — A U.S. District Court judge has issued a temporary restraining order stopping Gov. Andy Beshear's mask mandate from going into effect for private schools for the time being.

What You Need To Know

  • Temporary restraining order issued over Gov. Andy Beshear's mask mandate

  • Parents at a Northern Kentucky Catholic school filed the lawsuit

  • The restraining order does not apply to Kentucky's public schools because the Board of Education implemented its own mask policy

  • A hearing on the case is set for Aug. 24

This restraining order does not affect public schools, and it also doesn't separate mask regulations approved by the Department of Education and Department of Public Health.

The Kentucky Board of Education on Aug. 12 approved requiring universal masking in public schools into 2022. Set to last 270 days, the regulation is independent of Gov. Beshear's executive order requiring masks in all schools and child care facilities.

The lawsuit was filed by parents on behalf of their children, who attend St. Joseph Elementary School, a Catholic school in Cold Spring, which is located in Northern Kentucky. 

The parents are challenging the legality of Beshear's Executive Order issued on Aug. 10, 2021. The Executive Order requires masks for all students and staff while indoors regardless of their vaccination status. 

The lawsuit claims Beshear cannot issue Executive Orders without the approval of the General Assembly.

Beshear spokeswoman Crystal Staley said, "The federal court’s ruling could place thousands of Kentucky children at risk and undoubtedly expose them to the most dangerous version of COVID-19 we have ever seen."

"The court ruled without hearing from the governor and with absolutely no consideration of the consequences of exposure and quarantine that we will see – especially at a time when we are nearly out of staffed hospital beds statewide. Nor was the court provided the Franklin Circuit Court’s injunction of the legislation at issue," she continued.

Staley said Beshear's office will "pursue every avenue and option to ensure that we can protect Kentucky's children."

"Thankfully, while we disagree with the plaintiffs in the case, they have agreed that the order should be narrowed to only apply to their diocese and no others schools," she added.

Judge William O. Bertelsman said in the order that the court would hear the case Tuesday, Aug. 24 to determine steps on ruling for masks in all Kentucky Schools. 

"The executive branch cannot simply ignore laws passed by duly-elected representatives of the citizens of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Therein lies tyranny," the judge wrote.

Beshear's order also faces a legal challenge from Attorney General Daniel Cameron, who filed a response with the Kentucky Supreme Court, questioning the legality of his order and asked the Court to intervene in the matter.