The Church of the Resurrection School, an elementary school in Michigan, sued the state's Department of Health and Human Services this week over its mandate that students wear masks at all times in school.
"The general consensus among staff and parents regarding [the mask mandate], however, is that it is overly burdensome to young children, is detrimental to their health, negatively impacts their education, and has little grounding in science as regards containing the COVID-19 pandemic," the Rev. Steven M. Mattson and Principal Jacob Allstott wrote in a letter to families this week explaining the lawsuit.
The state's Department of Health issued an emergency order Oct. 5 requiring people to wear masks in businesses, government buildings and schools.
That order came days after the state's Supreme Court invalidated the law underpinning Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's previous mask mandates.
The school argues that masks are unnecessary because of other precautions that they have taken. That includes, it said, using "UV-C air purification inside the classrooms, shortening the length of the school day, and reduction of student contact with staff who also work in additional buildings."
The school also argues in the lawsuit that the mask mandate goes against Catholicism.
“In accordance with the teachings of the Catholic faith, Resurrection School believes that every human has dignity and is made in God’s image and likeness,” the plaintiffs said in the lawsuit, according to Michigan Live. “Unfortunately, a mask shields our humanity. And because God created us in His image, we are masking that image.”
In the letter to parents, Mattson and Allstott also said that masks are difficult for certain students with health problems and learning differences, citing a kindergartner referred to as K.G.
"K.G. has difficulty with speech and has trouble pronouncing certain letters correctly," Mattson and Allstott wrote. "Wearing a facial covering exacerbates her struggles with speech and impedes her teacher’s ability to see her mouth so as to determine if it is in the proper position for correct pronunciation."
There have been 29 coronavirus outbreaks at elementary schools across the state, with dozens more at middle and high schools, but the Church of Resurrection has had zero cases so far.
The school clarified on Facebook Thursday that they are only "contesting masks for younger children when socially distanced in their own classrooms," not for teachers, older students, or younger students when they are in mixed groups.
The CDC recommends that students wear masks in school at all times except for in specific situations, such as gym class or when a student has a learning difference that is exacerbated by mask-wearing.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.