Florida Mask Mandate

A lawsuit is brought by parents across Florida challenging Gov. Ron DeSantis' interpretation of that law and whether the Florida constitution gives the state the right to overrule districts on health matters. Four of the state's largest school districts are among seven that have imposed strict mask mandates that require a medical reason before allowing students to opt-out. Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, Hillsborough, Alachua, Leon and Sarasota have strict rules, but the DOH has only notified Alachua and Broward that they must comply with the law or begin to face economic sanctions. Duval County and other districts have requirements that allow opt-out with parental permission without specifying a reason, which the Department of Education says is within the rules. The lawsuit centers on an executive order that DeSantis issued July 30 aimed at preventing school districts from requiring that students wear masks amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The parents, who are from various parts of the state, contend the order violates the Florida Constitution, including a requirement for providing 'safe' and 'secure' public schools. DeSantis, Corcoran and other backers of the executive order contend that parents should be able to decide whether children wear masks. Of the districts involved, all but Sarasota are Democratic strongholds and DeSantis, a Republican, has accused them of playing politics. Democrats have accused DeSantis of the same, saying he is using his anti-mask mandate position to build a national profile for a possible 2024 presidential bid.