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US-HEALTH-VIRUS-FLORIDA

Florida school mask ban faces legal challenge

MIAMI — Gov. Ron DeSantis’ ban on mask requirements in schools faces a challenge in a Tallahassee courtroom.

Leon County Circuit Judge John Cooper is scheduled to hear the lawsuit Friday. Parents from several large school districts want the governor’s prohibition on mandatory masking lifted as children across Florida return to school.

DeSantis says parents should decide whether their children wear masks in classrooms. But with infections from the delta variant surging, some school districts are following guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that recommends staff and students wear masks. The lawsuit says the mask ban violates Florida’s constitution.

In Palm Beach County, officials said they ended the second day of classes with 440 students sent home to quarantine because of 51 cases detected among staff members and students.

Orange County’s school system reported 333 total cases after classes began this week, with 20 teachers and 39 students still quarantined.

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