Florida Judge Rules Against DeSantis' Ban on School Mask Mandates (The Florida Channel/Miami Herald)
By Eric Mack | Wednesday, 08 September 2021 01:28 PM
A Florida judge has ruled against Gov. Ron DeSantis' ban of school mask mandates, permitting Florida schools to require masks while the case is appealed to a higher court.
Second Circuit Judge John Cooper ruled Florida must immediately end sanctions against several school districts who have instituted mask mandates despite DeSantis' executive order that parents have freedom to choose whether their children will wear masks in schools.
DeSantis' appeal was rejected by Cooper, CNN and the Miami Herald reported, after another court ruled the governor's order was an executive overreach. There are 13 Florida school districts that have defied DeSantis' ban.
"It's undisputed that in Florida we are in the midst of a COVID pandemic," Cooper said, according to CNN. "Based on the evidence I've heard, there's no harm to the state if the stay is set aside."
Cooper pointed to expert witnesses making the argument for masks because there are no vaccinations available to kids under 12.
"It's undisputed that the delta variant is far more infectious than the prior to their prior version of the virus, and that children are more susceptible to the delta variant than to the form from a year ago," Cooper said. "In particular for children under 12, they cannot be vaccinated. Therefore, there's really only one or two means to protect them against the virus as either stay at home, or mask."
Cooper noted the mask mandate ban might ultimately force parents to choose to keep their kids home to avoid unmasked fellow students.
Students "arguably have no way to avoid this, except to stay home and isolate themselves," Cooper said, CNN reported. "I think everybody agrees, that's not good for them."