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 ... either stay at home, or mask. — Second Circuit Judge John Cooper
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 ... either stay at home, or mask. — Second Circuit Judge John Cooper
Florida judge allows mask mandates to continue in schools despite governor's appeal
The ruling from Second Circuit Judge John Cooper, effective immediately, means the state of Florida must stop enforcement of banning mask mandates -- which ends sanctions against several school districts that have implemented such mandates.

The decision comes amid heated showdowns between the state and some local school districts, which have insisted on requiring students to wear masks amid a surge in Covid-19 infections.

In late July, DeSantis, a Republican, issued an executive order that directed the Florida Department of Education and the Florida Department of Health to issue emergency rules giving parents a choice on whether their children should wear masks in class. The state threatened to withhold funding from districts that violated the order and required masks for everyone.

Even so, 13 Florida school districts have now implemented a mask mandate without a parent opt out in defiance of the governor's position.

Judge Cooper ruled against DeSantis' order two weeks ago, saying the governor overreached and did not have the authority to ban school districts from implementing mask mandates without a parent opt out.

DeSantis appealed that ruling, which led to an immediate pause on school mask mandates while a ruling was made.

That pause has now been lifted. In Wednesday's ruling, Judge Cooper said there was not enough irreparable harm to set aside the automatic stay triggered by the appeal.

"It's undisputed that in Florida we are in the midst of a Covid pandemic. Based on the evidence I've heard, there's no harm to the state if the stay is set aside," Cooper said.

Cooper added that based on expert witnesses it is clear the only way to protect children who are unable to be vaccinated is to keep children isolated at home, which would cause additional harm.

"It's undisputed that the Delta variant is far more infectious than the 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 ... either stay at home, or mask."

Cooper added that based on the evidence young students "arguably have no way to avoid this, except to stay home and isolate themselves."

"I think everybody agrees, that's not good for them," Cooper said.
Read the full article: https://www.cnn.com/2021/09/08/us/florida-mask-mandate-schools/index.html