TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Lawyers representing the six school districts challenging the Department of Health with a petition in court say their latest emergency order does nothing to prevent communicable disease.
The Department of Health issued an emergency order on September 22nd covering Protocols for Controlling COVID-19 in School Settings.
The order requires districts to allow parents to opt out of both mask wearing and quarantining, parental rights Attorney Jamie Cole says DOH has no authority to either give or take away.
"It's not their job ... to issue rules as to anything outside of controlling communicable diseases," Cole says.
Additionally, he says, the requirements outlined in the order could actually prove to work against their intended goal.
"A rule that says parents have to have the sole discretion to opt their kids out of a mask mandate does not control COVID," Cole says. "If anything, it results in less children wearing masks, which will result in more spread of COVID."
Shortly after DOH issued the new order at the instruction of Governor Ron Desantis, Leon County Superintendent Rocky Hanna said "This is a blatant abuse of executive power."
LCS is one of six districts challenging the order, along with Miami-Dade, Broward, Duval, Orange, and Alachua counties.
The division of administrative hearings is required to assign an administrative law judge to respond to the petition within 7 days. A hearing is then required within 14 days.