Mask mandate ban back in place in Florida schools as state fights districts in court

click to enlarge Mask mandate ban back in place in Florida schools as state fights districts in court
Photo via Office of the Governor

An appeals court reinstated Florida's mask mandate ban in public schools, upon a request from the administration of Ron DeSantis.

The case was originally decided in favor of school districts who wish to impose mandates to stem the spread of COVID-19. Leon County Circuit judge John Cooper found that the DeSantis administration had overstepped their authority in issuing a blanket ban on mask mandates.

DeSantis' admin sought a stay of the ruling while they appealed. Typically, a stay is granted while the case works it way through appeals, but the ongoing spread of coronavirus changed things. Judge Cooper ruled against the stay, citing public safety. However, the appeals court disagreed, granting the stay and reimposing a ban on mask mandates in state schools.

"When a public officer or agency seeks appellate review, which is the case here, there is a presumption under the rule in favor of a stay, and the stay should be vacated only for the most compelling of reasons," The 1st District Court of Appeal shared in an order on Friday. "Given the presumption against vacating the automatic stay, the stay should have been left in place pending appellate review."

The 1st District apparently doesn't see the ongoing spread of coronavirus among children as a compelling reason. It's likely that the school districts who were already ignoring state orders, even under threat of having funds stripped, will continue to do so.

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