Wednesday, December 1

Florida Schools May Demand Masks, Judge Rules | Florida

School districts in Florida can impose mask mandates, a judge said Friday, ruling that Republican state governor Ron DeSantis exceeded his authority by issuing an executive order prohibiting the mandates.

Leon County Circuit Judge John Cooper agreed with a group of parents who claimed in a lawsuit that DeSantis’s order is unconstitutional and cannot be enforced.

The news came when it became known that some districts of Florida are asking the public to conserve water because it’s in short supply to keep hospitals stocked with all the liquid oxygen they need to help Covid patients breathe, as well as the utilities that need it for water processing.

The governor’s order gave parents the exclusive right to decide whether their child wears a mask at school. Cooper said the DeSantis order “lacks legal authority.”

His decision came after a three-day virtual hearing, and after at least 10 Florida school boards voted to challenge DeSantis and impose mask requirements without parental opt-out.

Cooper said that while the governor and others have argued that a new Florida law gives parents ultimate authority to monitor their children’s health problems, it also exempts government actions that are necessary to protect public health and are reasonable. and limited in scope.

He said a school district’s decision to require masking students to prevent the spread of the virus falls within that exemption.

The judge also noted that two decisions of the Florida state supreme court of 1914 and 1939 found that individual rights are limited by their impact on the rights of others.

For example, he said, adults have the right to drink alcohol but not to drive while drunk. There is the right to freedom of expression, but not to harass or threaten others or to shout “fire” in a crowded theater, he said.

DeSantis has dismissed the masking recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as not applicable to Florida, but Cooper cited numerous Florida laws and statutes covering health care in nursing homes, prisons, and other places that say State decision makers should attach great importance to the CDC guidelines. .

School districts that have defied Santis’s order represent just over half of the 2.8 million Florida public school students enrolled this year.

Orange County, home to the city of Orlando and Disney World, became the latest major district to impose a mask mandate on Tuesday after positive tests for Covid-19 disrupted classes.

The coronavirus pandemic is currently the worst in Florida, with record levels of new infections, hospitalizations and deaths as the Delta variant of Covid-19 sweeps the state, and the unvaccinated population is by far the largest. affected.

Tampa and Orlando They are among the areas asking the public to conserve water, even urging people not to wash their cars or pressure wash or water lawns.

Aid for Very Ill Covid-19 Hospital Patients Is Using Valuable Water Resources Across Florida, The Tampa Bay Times reported, saying it was creating competition between hospitals and municipal water systems for crucial supplies of liquid oxygen.

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