Florida Seeking Long-Term Rule on Mask Mandates, Quarantines in Schools


The Florida Department of Health (FDOH) is proposing a new long-term rule to ban mask mandates and enshrine its new quarantine rules for students in Florida’s public school system. Florida’s new surgeon general, Dr. Joseph Ladapo, signed off on the first phase of the new rules last month which said students would no longer have to quarantine if they are exposed and asymptomatic.

“Quarantining healthy students is incredibly damaging for their educational advancement,” said Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) at the time of the new rule’s announcement. “It’s also disruptive for families. We are going to be following a symptoms-based approach.”

The long-term rule, proposed by the FDOH last week, is intended to stave off a legal challenge by a coalition of local school districts across Florida. The claim by the districts is that the FDOH imposed the new set of rules under an emergency basis and the rule was not put through the standard rulemaking process.

“The DOH rule fails to provide an explanation justifying the emergency enactment that is explicit or persuasive, and no explanation for the utter lack of notice or opportunity to be heard during the weeks prior to the adoption of the DOH rule,” said the challenge on behalf of the school districts.


According to state law, emergency rules cannot be in effect for more than 90 days.

Another claim from the school districts is that the FDOH overstepped its legal authority by imposing rules on masking and quarantining, and Florida Administrative Law Judge Brian Newman will oversee the two-day hearing beginning on Thursday.

The DeSantis Administration will be expecting a legal victory after they saw a preliminary victory in a case regarding vaccine mandates. DeSantis has been vocal in his opposition to vaccine mandates, and Leon County Circuit Judge Layne Smith gave DeSantis an early win.

Smith’s ruling went against a business in Sarasota requiring its patrons to disclose vaccine information. The ruling said the business’ First Amendment rights were not being infringed upon as the business’ vaccine requirement was compelling patrons to alter their conduct.

The business has yet to decide if they will appeal the ruling.

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Grant Holcomb is a reporter at the Florida Capital Star and the Star News Network. Follow Grant on Twitter and direct message tips.
Photo “Teacher Helping Student” by Hanover County Public Schools.





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