Aug 27, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Florida judge blocks Gov. DeSantis' ban on mask mandates in schools

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis speaking at a press conference in Lakeland on Aug. 21.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis speaking at a press conference in Lakeland on Aug. 21. Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

A Florida judge ruled Friday that school districts can require students and staff to wear masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19, saying Gov. Ron DeSantis' executive order banning the mandates was "without legal authority," according to AP.

Why it matters: Multiple Florida school districts have defied DeSantis' order despite threats from the governor to withhold state funding from schools that don't comply.

  • DeSantis' order ignores recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The governor maintains that it should be up to parents to decide whether their child should wear a mask.

What they're saying: Leon County Circuit Judge John C. Cooper said a school district’s decision to require masks to prevent the spread of the virus is reasonable and limited in scope and necessary to protect public health, per AP.

By the numbers: DeSantis issued the order, despite Florida experiencing a spike in new infections largely due to the Delta variant.

  • Florida reported 21,765 new cases and 901 deaths from the virus on Thursday, according to the Miami Herald.

The big picture: The Biden administration announced in August that it would give financial assistance to schools defying executive orders that ban mask mandates for students and educational staff.

  • Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has issued a similar order effectively banning mask mandates.

Go deeper: Coronavirus case surges force school closures

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