ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — A Florida judge has ruled the state cannot enforce its ban on mask mandates in public schools to guard against the coronavirus while an appeals court sorts out whether the ban is ultimately legal. Leon County Circuit Judge John C. Cooper lifted an automatic stay of his decision last week that Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis and state education officials exceeded their authority by imposing the blanket ban via an executive order. The case next goes before the 1st District Court of Appeal in Tallahassee. DeSantis says he is optimistic the state would prevail.