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Third judge blocks Gov. Lee's mandatory mask opt-out for schools

Diverse set of child portrait avatars wearing face masks.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A third federal judge has blocked Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee’s order allowing families to opt out of school mask mandates.

The decision is the latest development in the ongoing legal battle over Lee’s order launched by parents and advocates alarmed over the spike in coronavirus cases in Tennessee’s schools.

U.S. District Judge Waverly Crenshaw handed down the ruling on Friday. It applies solely to Williamson County.

Earlier that day, a separate judge halted Lee’s executive order in Knox County.

A week prior, another judge indefinitely banned Lee’s order after families argued the governor’s executive order endangered their children.