On Dec. 21, Alaska joined a 23-state lawsuit asking a U.S. District Court in Louisiana to block yet another federal COVID shot mandate that aims to require Head Start workers and volunteers across the country to get the experimental jab or face termination.

Alaska has 17 Head Start and Early Head Start programs, all part of a federally funded preschool program for children from low-income families.

According to a Nov. 30 notice from the Head Start Program, the new rule requires “universal masking for all individuals two years of age and older, with some noted exceptions,” and vaccinations for Head Start staff, contractors and volunteers working in classrooms or directly with children. The deadline for compliance is Jan. 31, 2022.

Our Head Start workers and volunteers have the right to decide for themselves whether to get vaccinated…

The vax mandate would apply to more than 273,000 staff and more than 1 million volunteers serving about 864,000 children nationwide. Contractors who provide direct services to Head Start children or families are also subject to the mandate. Additionally, anyone who enters a Head Start facility, including parents, are required to mask.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy called the Biden administration’s move a “misguided and overreaching” threat to children and families in need.

“This nation should be prioritizing children and families, not putting parents in the untenable situation of choosing between their rights as parents and the education of their kids,” he said. “This new policy will create obstacles for workers and families that need the program the most. We will continue to fight these policies with every resource we can to protect Alaskans from these unconstitutional mandates.”

A communication from the governor’s office said the latest mandate is part of a “series of broad and overreaching Biden Administration actions taken in recent months forcing millions of Americans to choose between submitting to an unwanted vaccine or losing their economic livelihoods.”

Alaska is currently part of three other federal cases challenging COVID shot requirements for federal contractors, private businesses and healthcare providers.

“The federal government has again forced its way into matters delegated to the states and to the people under the 10th Amendment,” said Alaska Attorney General Treg Taylor. “Our Head Start workers and volunteers have the right to decide for themselves whether to get vaccinated, without the fear of losing their jobs or without the fear of the federal government defunding Alaska’s preschool programs.”

The Head Start lawsuit argues that vaccine and masking requirements violate the 10th Amendment and that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has exceeded its lawful authority.

Other states involved in the lawsuit are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming.

Texas filed a separate lawsuit on Dec. 10 challenging the Head Start ruling.

Alaska challenges Head Start vax/mask mandate in federal court

Joel Davidson
Joel is Editor-in-Chief of the Alaska Watchman. Joel is an award winning journalist and has been reporting for over 20 years, He is a proud father of 8 children, and lives in Palmer, Alaska.