Oklahoma County District Judge Natalie Mai issued a limited temporary injunction on Senate Bill 658 on Wednesday, the new law that effectively banned school mask mandates in Oklahoma.

The law will be temporarily blocked and could be appealed. The temporary injunction will take effect next week after Mai issues her written ruling. Any school mask mandate must include the option for parents to opt out of the requirement, Mai said.

Oklahoma is one of five states under investigation by the U.S. Department of Education for its ban on masks requirements. The policies may amount to discrimination against students with disabilities and chronic health conditions, according to the department.

In a press conference on Wednesday afternoon, Chief COVID officer for the University of Oklahoma Dr. Dale Bratzler encouraged all people, vaccinated or otherwise, to wear a mask when they are indoors. Bratzler said that it is not to late to help slow transmission by requiring students wear masks indoors.

“The majority of kids are unvaccinated so I think it is very important to follow the CDC recommendation that any kids in school should be wearing a mask,” Bratzler said.

Bratzler also addressed the rampant misinformation on social media about masks.

“One of the most common incorrect pieces of information that is being spread on the internet is that cloth masks don’t work because the virus is so small it can go right through it,” Bratzler said.

The statistic that is often cited online is that the virus is “50 to 115 nanometers” in size and can easily go through a mask like a “mosquito through a chain link fence.” It is true that the individual virus is roughly that size, Bratzler said, but the misinformation comes in the way the virus is transmitted.

“That is not the way the virus comes out of your mouth. It comes out riding on droplets, aerosols and droplets, and cloth masks are incredibly effective at preventing droplets and aerosols from coming out of your mouth,” Bratzler said. “They aren’t perfect, but they’re very, very good.”

Multiple studies have shown that when two individuals are wearing even a simple two-layer cloth mask it dramatically reduces droplet and aerosol spread, reducing the zone of contamination around each individual and protecting both parties, according to Bratzler.

State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister called the ruling a “victory for families,” in an official statement released on Wednesday.

“The court’s striking of the mask mandate prohibition on SB 658 now enables schools to fulfill their duty to protect and ensure equal protection for all students, including those with disabilities and most vulnerable in our schools,” Hofmeister said.

The Oklahoma State Department of Education will not enforce the mask mandate prohibition due to the pending litigation, according to Hofmeister, who said that further guidance will be provided once the litigation concludes.