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Court refuses to fast-track mask case

File photo.
File photo. (Wikimedia Commons/ShareAlike 3.0)

TALLAHASSEE – An appeals court Friday refused to fast-track to the Florida Supreme Court a challenge to Gov. Ron DeSantis’ efforts to prevent schools from requiring students to wear masks during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 1st District Court of Appeal turned down a request by a group of parents to pass along the case to the Supreme Court. As is common, the appeals court did not explain its reasoning.

The parents filed the lawsuit in August, challenging a July 30 DeSantis executive order aimed at preventing school districts from imposing mask mandates. Leon County Circuit Judge John Cooper ruled in favor of the parents, saying DeSantis had overstepped his constitutional authority with the executive order.

But the state appealed to the 1st District Court of Appeal, leading to Cooper’s ruling being put on hold.

The parents this month filed the request to effectively bypass the appeals court and take the issues to the Supreme Court. But attorneys for DeSantis, Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran, the Florida Department of Education and the State Board of Education objected, arguing the appeals court should handle the case.