A Florida judge said Wednesday that state officials cannot enforce Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis’ ban on school mask mandates while the administration appeals the jurist’s earlier decision in the matter.
Leon County Circuit Judge John C. Cooper lifted an automatic stay of his ruling handed down last month, which stated that DeSantis and state education officials overstepped their authority by issuing an executive order outlawing mask mandates and threatening to cut the salary of school board members who defied it.
During a hearing held remotely, Cooper said the state had failed to prove lifting the stay would lead to irreparable harm.
“We’re not in normal times. We are in a pandemic,” the judge said at one point. “We have a [COVID-19] variant that is more infectious and dangerous to children than the one we had last year.”
Since DeSantis signed his order July 30, 13 school boards representing more than half of the Sunshine State’s