Oklahoma schools, certain state buildings can no longer require masks and vaccines

Oklahoma Politics

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – State buildings and offices can no longer require you to mask up to receive government services, according to a new executive order.

An executive order by Gov. Kevin Stitt came as he also signed a bill preventing school districts from requiring masks and vaccines.

Mask requirements have been common for more than a year at most businesses and schools, but an executive order and signed bill are changing that.

The governor says it’s time to return to normal. 

Some lawmakers say it’s about personal privacy and choice.

“We have always kind of kept healthcare private, you know, we have laws against that,” said Sen. Rob Standridge, (R, Norman), an author of Senate Bill 658.

The bill, recently signed by Gov. Kevin Stitt, prevents schools from mandating vaccines for students and masks for those who are unvaccinated.

“To force kids to wear masks or to be vaccinated against their parents’ wishes, I don’t know. I don’t think we should be doing that as a government,” Standridge told KFOR. 

Opponents say this mandate on the state level takes away the power of local districts to make their own decisions, adding that it’s preventing problems that aren’t happening currently as schools set out guidelines for the fall.

“Do you have a specific example for maybe of a k-12 school that is doing that next school year?” said Sen. J.J. Dossett (D – Owasso). 

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As for the executive order, all buildings and offices owned and leased by the state and open to the public cannot require masks or vaccines.

In signing the bill and issuing the executive order, Governor Stitt said every Oklahoman who wants a COVID-19 vaccine has had the ability to undergo a complete cycle, adding that, “In Oklahoma, the standard for normal is freedom.” 

The governor’s executive order does not apply to state buildings where patient-care is the primary function. The CDC still recommends that all unvaccinated Americans wear masks.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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