Culture

Florida court reinstates Gov. Desantis’ ban on mask mandates


By Melissa Alonso | CNN

Florida’s 1st District Court on Friday reinstated a stay on mask mandates in schools, blocking local school requirements for now, court documents show.

Lawyers for Gov. Ron DeSantis filed the emergency appeal after a judge ruled on Wednesday that the state must stop its enforcement of a mask ban.

The latest court ruling comes amid a showdown between the state and some local school districts that have insisted on requiring students to wear masks as Covid-19 infections surge.

On August 27, Second Circuit Judge John Cooper ruled against DeSantis, allowing Florida schools to institute mask mandates while the case was appealed at a higher level.

Cooper ruled that DeSantis had overreached when he issued an executive order in late July directing the Florida Department of Education and the Florida Department of Health to issue emergency rules giving parents a choice on whether their children should wear masks in class.

The state threatened to withhold funding from districts that violated the order and required masks, but 13 Florida school districts have implemented mask mandates without a parental opt-out, in defiance of the governor.

DeSantis tweeted he was not surprised by Friday’s ruling.

“The 1st DCA has restored the right of parents to make the best decisions for their children. I will continue to fight for parents’ rights,” he added.

School districts react

Some school districts with mask mandates, though, said Friday that the appeals court decision wouldn’t immediately change their policies.

Orange County Public Schools, which includes Orlando, will “continue to monitor the court proceedings,” spokesperson Michael Ollendorff said.

“Our current policy remains in place through October 30,” Ollendorff said.

Leon County Public Schools, which includes Tallahassee, won’t comment on the ruling and “will continue to mandate masks” through eighth grade, according to spokesperson Chris Petley.

There will also be no changes in the mask policy at Lee County Public Schools, according to spokesperson Rob Spicker, who said “the mask requirement remains in place.” Lee County includes Fort Myers.

Brevard Public School System spokesperson Katherine Allen said the system had “not been notified of any changes to our current policy at this time.”

“The decision is disappointing, but we understood from the beginning that the legal battle over masks in schools would take time and not every decision would be favorable,” said Alachua County Public Schools spokesperson Jackie Johnson.

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Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment

      

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