Florida school mask mandate power struggle goes before judge

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — The politically-charged Florida debate over wearing masks in school to guard against coronavirus infection is now before a judge. Hearings began Monday in a lawsuit that challenges Gov. Ron DeSantis’ order reserving the student mask decision for parents. The lawsuit contends school boards should have authority to require masks as a health and safety matter. The state contends the DeSantis order meets constitutional and legal requirements to give parents choice. At least eight school districts covering more than 1 million students are requiring masks anyway, risking financial punishment by defying DeSantis. The court hearing continues through Wednesday.