School districts appeal Florida mask warrant decision, call for quick review

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School boards ask appeals court to ‘expedite’ review of challenge to Florida Department of Health rule to prevent face mask requirements for students during COVID pandemic 19.

Lawyers for Miami-Dade, Leon, Duval, Broward and Alachua County School Boards took the case to the 4th District Court of Appeals on Friday after an administrative law judge upheld a state of emergency . The councils filed a motion on Monday asking the appeals court to put the case on a fast track.

The state of emergency, released on September 22, said decisions to withdraw from student mask requirements are at the “sole discretion” of parents or guardians. Additionally, it has allowed students to attend school if they have been exposed to COVID-19 but are asymptomatic, preventing districts from requiring quarantines for those students.

The Florida Department of Education used the rule as the basis for imposing financial penalties on school districts that required students to wear masks. School boards argued, in part, that the Department of Health had overstepped its authority with the rule, which helped enforce a July 30 executive order by Governor Ron DeSantis.

Administrative Judge Brian Newman issued a 25-page ruling on Friday dismissing the challenge. In asking the appeals court to act quickly, lawyers for the school boards said the state of emergency was due to expire on December 21.

In addition, the appellants (school boards and Leon County Superintendent Rocky Hanna) are affected by the new emergency rule, not only because of the continued enforcement and sanctions from the DOE (the Department of Justice). ‘Education), but also because the uncertainty surrounding the validity of existing masks and quarantine policies create administrative difficulties and confusion for hundreds of thousands of students, as well as for their teachers and parents. ”, Indicates the motion. “Changing these policies to achieve the compliance required by the DOE would undoubtedly increase, in the appellants’ view, serious risks to the health of all concerned. ”

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