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Third judge blocks Gov. Lee's mask opt out in schools

U.S. District Judge Waverly Crenshaw handed down the ruling on Friday.
Credit: AP
FILE - Gov. Bill Lee speaks during the Tennessee Higher Education Commission session of the state budget hearings on Nov. 10, 2020, in Nashville, Tenn. The health department in Tennessee's most populous county reinstituted a face mask requirement Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2021, for indoor public places such as restaurants, bars and other businesses as a surge in COVID-19 cases strains hospital resources and causes concern in schools. The announcement comes two days after Lee issued an order allowing parents of K-12 students to opt out of mask requirements issued for schools. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, File)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — 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, an affluent region just south of Nashville. 

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.