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Judge To Rule On Mask Mandate Lawsuit Involving Gov. Ron DeSantis

MIAMI (CBSMiami) - Governor Ron DeSantis took part in a hearing in Tampa on Tuesday afternoon regarding the mask mandates being set in school districts across the state.

The hearing comes after several school districts, including Broward and Miami-Dade, implemented mask mandates for the new school year, going against the governor's executive order.

Michael Abel, an attorney representing the state, contended that the governor and top education officials took into account the risks associated with the delta variant in crafting the executive order.

DeSantis' order resulted in a state health department rule that requires parents to be allowed to opt-out of mask requirements.

"The risk factors, particularly when it comes to the governor's executive order, and when it comes to the Department of Health's regulation, have been assessed. And determinations have been made that balance, in the view of the executive branch, safety and health," Abel said.

DeSantis, Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran, the Florida Department of Education and the State Board of Education are named as defendants in the lawsuit.

Attorneys for parents in the mask case argued that their complaint is more "targeted" and "narrow," asserting that it deals with a pressing health issue about wearing masks as the delta variant is more harmful to children.

"Right now the numbers are belying any kind of argument that COVID delta is not affecting kids, unlike last year when COVID alpha was not quite as severe," Gallagher said.

The judge hearing the case is expected to make a ruling by Wednesday at the latest.

(©2021 CBS Local Media. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.)

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