Florida judge will rule on challenge to DeSantis ban on school mask mandates

Florida judge will rule on challenge to DeSantis ban on school mask mandates
Florida judge will rule on challenge to DeSantis ban on school mask mandates

A judge in Florida is preparing to rule on a legal challenge against Governor Ron DeSantis' ban on school mask mandates.

Administrative law Judge Brian Newman heard testimony from both sides in the case this week in Tallahassee, and will have until November 5 to render a ruling.

DeSantis in July issued an executive order barring school mask mandates, but in practice, at least eight counties representing more than half of Florida's public school students have defied him, requiring kids to wear masks to limit the spread of COVID-19.

The legal challenge to the order heard by Judge Newman was filed by six of those counties: Alachua, Broward, Duval, Miami-Dade, Orange and Leon.

A judge in Florida is preparing to rule on a legal challenge against Governor Ron DeSantis' ban on school mask mandates

A judge in Florida is preparing to rule on a legal challenge against Governor Ron DeSantis' ban on school mask mandates

During this week's hearings, Judge Newman heard testimony from Aileen Marty, an infectious-disease specialist and professor at Florida International University.

'There's no ifs, ands or buts about it, masks are a highly effective way of reducing transmission from a respiratory virus, and particularly one that is spread by aerosol as is the SARS-CoV-2 virus,' Marty said, according to WKMG-TV

DeSantis has said parents should decide if their children wear masks, but Marty argued that it is 'much safer for the child' to leave decisions to experts. 

'Under the circumstances that we were under, with the type of viral load we have, it is much better to have a mask mandate without a parental opt-out,' Marty said. 

On the opposing side, Jacob Oliva, a senior chancellor for the state Department of Education, defended the mask mandate ban and argued against quarantining asymptomatic students. 

He said that statewide

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