Judge blocks COVID vaccine mandate for Head Start program

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MONROE, La. (AP) — A Louisiana federal judge has ruled that President Joe Biden cannot require teachers in the Head Start early education program to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

The decision hands a victory to 24 states that had sued the federal government.

U.S. District Judge Terry Doughty wrote Saturday the Biden administration unlawfully bypassed Congress when ordering workers in Head Start programs be vaccinated by Jan. 31.

Head Start is a federally funded program that promotes education for children under the age of 6 who are from low-income families.

The ruling impacts Head Start programs in Athens County. WOUB previously reported the federal mandate put program directors in a pickle because they could only require vaccinations for their employees but not the schools district employees they collaborate with.

It was not immediately clear whether the federal government would appeal the decision to the 5th Circuit in New Orleans.