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Court reinstates Fla ban on school mask mandates

Alberto Carvalho, Oliver angel, Ariah Olawale
Posted at 3:33 PM, Sep 10, 2021

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The on-again, off-again ban imposed by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis to prevent mandated masks for Florida school students is back in force.

The 1st District Court of Appeal ruled Friday a Tallahassee judge shouldn’t have lifted an automatic stay two days ago that halted enforcement of the mask mandate ban. The upshot is the state can resume its efforts to impose financial penalties on the 13 Florida school boards currently defying the mask ban.

The U.S. Department of Education has begun a grant program for school districts that lose money for implementing mandatory masks and other coronavirus safety measures.

DeSantis has argued the new Parents Bill of Rights law gives parents the authority to determine whether their children should wear a mask to school. School districts with mandatory mask rules allow an opt-out only for medical reasons, not parental discretion.

Charles Gallagher, attorney for parents challenging the DeSantis ban, says in a tweet, “students, parents and teachers are back in harm’s way.”

President Biden called out governors Friday for fighting steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

"I am so disappointed that particularly some Republican governors have been so cavalier with the health of these kids," Biden said while touring a school in Washington, D.C.

Biden promised to compensate school employees who have their pay withheld for implementing COVID-19 mitigation restrictions.