Gov. Ron DeSantis has been dealt another blow in his battle over mask mandates in Florida schools.
Leon County Circuit Judge John C. Cooper ruled against the Republican governor again Wednesday (September 8), claiming DeSantis overstepped his authority by banning mask mandates in his state's schools, according to The Washington Post. School districts in the Sunshine State are allowed to require masks if they so choose.
“We have a variant that’s more infectious and more dangerous to children than the one we had last year,” Cooper said when issuing his ruling. “We’re in a non-disputed pandemic situation with threats to young children who, at least based on the evidence, have no way to avoid this unless to stay home and isolate themselves. I think everybody agrees that’s not good for them.”
"No surprise here that Judge Cooper concluded that he is unlikely to be overruled on appeal. We (unsurprisingly) disagree," Taryn Fenske, the communications director for the governor's office, said in a statement.
Judge Cooper sided with parents in his first ruling over school mask mandates on August 27. DeSantis' team appealed the decision, which "temporarily allowed the Florida Department of Education to enforce the no-mask-mandate order," reporters wrote.
But, the parents suing DeSantis claim there shouldn't be a stay during the appeals process due to the unprecedented global pandemic. Cooper agreed and lifted the stay. He called his decision unusual but added that “we are not in normal times.”
DeSantis' team has filed another appeal to reinstate the stay.