A Florida appeals court decided in favor of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis on Friday, issuing a stay in a case that effectively reinstates his prohibition on mask mandates in public schools in the state.

In what has become a politicized battle over COVID-19 measures, school and health officials have clashed with governors and other officials.

A spokesman for DeSantis hailed the decision on Twitter.

“1st District Court of Appeals just granted the State of Florida’s request to reinstate the stay — meaning, the rule requiring ALL Florida school districts to protect parents’ rights to make choices about masking kids is BACK in effect!” DeSantis spokesperson Christina Pushaw said on Twitter Friday. 

DeSantis issued an executive order in July prohibiting school mask regulations. DeSantis has stated that parents should determine whether or not to allow their children to wear masks.

In spite of the governor’s directive, Miami-Dade is one of more than a dozen school districts that have enacted mask requirements.

The state Department of Education withheld funding from two of those districts this week. On August 27, Florida’s 2nd Circuit Judge John Cooper found that the state lacks the authority to prohibit mandates.

The First District Court of Appeals issued its decision on Friday.

Charles Gallagher, the lead attorney for a group of parents suing the state, wrote on Twitter: “We are disappointed by the ruling of the 1st DCA that reinstates the stay and will be seeking pass through jurisdiction of the Supreme Court of Florida since this matter involves statewide issues. With a stay in place, students, parents and teachers are back in harm’s way.”

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