JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A judge reinforced Thursday there will not be any mask mandates in public schools in Duval County.
There was a court hearing Thursday afternoon after a group of nine local parents sued Duval County Public Schools over its now-expired mask policy.
The judge sided with the group of parents, who filed the lawsuit in the fall, challenging the school district’s mask requirement because it only allowed parents to opt their children out with a medical exemption at that time.
The governor later signed a state law banning all mask mandates in schools, and on that day, DCPS dropped its policy.
Attorneys for the group of parents wanted the case to continue, arguing that the court must definitively say that the district broke state law with that mask mandate.
They feel, if the court doesn’t stop it, the district could break the law again.
The judge agreed.
“This is for all time, as far as we’re concerned, until Florida, maybe there’s a change in political landscape and maybe have a different governor and that state statute’s abolished,” said Nick Whitney, an attorney representing the group of parents. “But thankfully, now, they can’t mask the kids until that state statute goes away, and that’s difficult.”
There is still an ongoing federal lawsuit about this mask mandate battle, but no hearings are scheduled right now.
Currently, DCPS requires masks for employees working with children and visitors. The district strongly recommends masks for students and staff, especially in areas where social distancing is not possible.