Minnesota judge rejects attempt to force school mask mandate
FILE - In this Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2021, file photo, students, some wearing protective masks, arrive for the first day of school at Sessums Elementary School in Riverview, Fla. The on-again, off-again ban imposed by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis to prevent mandating masks for Florida school students is back in force. The 1st District Court of Appeal ruled Friday, Sept. 10, that a Tallahassee judge should not have lifted an automatic stay two days ago that halted enforcement of the mask mandate ban. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara, File)

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A Minnesota judge has rejected a request by concerned parents to force a stateside mask mandate in all schools. Judge Thomas Gilligan said the court was “gravely concerned” about COVID-19 risks for children, but that the court lacks the legal authority to order Gov. Tim Walz to issue the directive that the parents sought. Minnesota Public Radio reports the longshot legal challenge was unique in that it sought to force the governor to declare a peacetime emergency and follow it with a mandate. In other states, governors who’ve tried to prevent schools from requiring masks have been blocked by courts.