"Our initial reaction was pure relief," Tasha Nelson, a mother and plaintiff in the lawsuit, told FOX 5 in Washington, D.C., after the judge's ruling. "Jack is 10 years old. He loves science, he’s a goofball, he’s a gamer. He also lives with a disease called cystic fibrosis. He takes about 50 pills a day. He does about one to two hours of physical therapy a day … quite frankly, he works harder for every breath he takes than anyone you’re likely to have ever met."
Some of the other children represented in the suit are going through cancer, or have asthma, weakened immune systems, Down syndrome or lung conditions, according to The Hill.
The lawsuit was filed in February after newly elected Gov. Glenn Youngkin signed an executive order making coronavirus face masks optional in schools and the General Assembly passed a similar law earlier this year.
The plaintiffs argued that the law violated the federal Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act.
Jack’s doctor told Nelson that when cases go up he would need to have anyone around him masked, but his school wasn’t able to accommodate them because of the law, meaning he would have to miss classes.
U.S. District Judge Norman Moon’s preliminary injunction gives the Nelsons and the 11 other families the right to ask the schools to require masks, but it doesn’t force the schools to override the law, according to FOX 5.
Moon said, though, that federal law supersedes state law and requires "reasonable modifications" for students with disabilities "from otherwise applicable state or local laws."
"Today’s ruling affirms that Governor Youngkin’s Executive Order 2 and Senate Bill 739 is the law of Virginia and parents have the right to make choices for their children," Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares, a defendant in the lawsuit, said in a statement.
The school would be allowed to judge how to implement reasonable accommodations for the students and the entire school wouldn’t need to be masked but rather just those around the immunocompromised student, according to The Hill.