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Parents, state say Florida mask case is moot

Students sit in an Algebra class at Barbara Coleman Senior High School on the first day of school on Monday in Miami Lakes, Fla. Miami-Dade County public schools require students to wear a mask to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Students sit in an Algebra class at Barbara Coleman Senior High School on the first day of school on Monday in Miami Lakes, Fla. Miami-Dade County public schools require students to wear a mask to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

A group of parents and Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration Monday asked an appeals court to dismiss a legal fight about a DeSantis executive order aimed at preventing school mask mandates during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a joint motion, attorneys for the parents and the DeSantis administration said the case was moot because of a law passed during a special session this month. The parents from various parts of the state filed the lawsuit Aug. 6, about a week after DeSantis issued the executive order. Following the executive order, the Florida Department of Health issued rules designed to carry out the executive order. Leon County Circuit Judge John Cooper sided with the parents, finding that DeSantis overstepped his legal authority in the executive order.

The DeSantis administration appealed Cooper’s ruling to the 1st District Court of Appeal. While the case remained pending, lawmakers met in a special session and passed a measure that barred school districts from requiring students to wear masks.

In the motion for dismissal Monday, attorneys for the two sides said the law “recently enacted by the Florida Legislature and signed by the Governor has superseded the executive order and the Department of Health rule that were at issue in this appeal.”

They also requested that the Tallahassee-based appeals court vacate Cooper’s ruling as part of the dismissal.