JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Attorney General Eric Schmitt has dismissed most of the more than 40 lawsuits he filed against Missouri school districts over mask mandates during the coronavirus pandemic.
Schmitt’s office announced Friday that it had also dismissed a lawsuit over mask mandates filed against the city of St. Louis.
Schmitt, a Republican running for the U.S. Senate, would refile the lawsuits if school districts reinstate mask mandates, said his spokesman, Chris Nuelle.
Nuelle said the lawsuits were dismissed because of “successful litigation” and because many school districts have dropped their mask mandates.
Lawsuits will continue against five school districts still requiring masks — University City, Maplewood-Richmond Heights, Clayton, Normandy and Center.
Lawsuits against the Columbia and St. Charles districts, which no longer have mask rules, are also continuing.
Several school officials and a spokesman for the city of St. Louis said the mask mandates were dropped as COVID-19 cases plummeted in Missouri, not because of Schmitt’s lawsuits.
“These lawsuits really hadn’t progressed very far,” said Christine McDonald, spokeswoman for EducationPlus, which represents St. Louis-area school districts. “All of the school districts’ decisions to drop or change their mask policy have been based on data that we’ve had around in our communities, consultation with doctors and a decision made by their board.”