Just over half of Florida’s 2.8 million public school students are now required to wear masks in classrooms as the courtroom battle over the governor’s efforts continues. Ron DeSantis To leave such decisions to the parents.
The majority of Orange County school board members told the superintendent Tuesday to require most students to wear masks, and agreed with her recommendation to keep the mandate until October 30.
The district began its school year this month with parents choosing to opt out, but the surge in the number of students across the Orlando area who tested positive for Covid-19 has disrupted classes. As of Tuesday, the district has reported 1,988 positive cases among students since the start of the study, with 1,491 people under active quarantine, according to the district’s dashboard.
No less than 10 school councils make up some of the largest districts in Florida They are now challenging the DeSantis administration’s attempt to ban local mandates on masks in schools. The Orange County Board also said they want to challenge the legality of the Florida Department of Health law imposing the ban.
In Fort Lauderdale on Tuesday, the Broward County School Board told the Department of Education that it would not back down from the masks policy, which gives parents a medical choice for students. The council said it believed this was in compliance with the governor’s order and the department’s mask rule.
The council said parents do not have an unlimited right to send their children to school without a mask, which is a violation of the rights of other parents who want their children to be safe.
DeSantis is not holding back. During a press conference in villages on Wednesday, the governor warned that there would be additional consequences for school districts, but did not go into details. DeSantis alleges Challenger School Boards are violating the Parents’ Rights Act, which was signed into law this summer, which gives parents the power to direct their children’s education.
“Those school districts are violating state law and they are overriding parental judgment on that,” he said, noting that cloth masks do not prevent the spread of aerosols. (Center for Disease Control I recommend Cloth masks as a safe way to prevent corona virus.)
The state gave Broward and Alachua counties until Tuesday to finish their mask mandates. Broward students started school a week ago with the mask policy in place. State officials threatened to withhold funding that equals school board salaries if the district did not comply. These funds make up less than 1% of each region’s budget.
Controversy over masks has raged across the state.
On Wednesday morning, police said, the father of a student who tried to enter Fort Lauderdale High School without a mask was arrested after he forcibly pushed another student who tried to grab his cell phone. A police report stated that the father was photographing students at the school’s front gate and that the student did not want to be photographed.
The father was charged with aggravated child abuse.
School board members from Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties held a virtual press conference Wednesday to discuss the possibility of suing DeSantis and the state. All three said they had received online threats over the mask issue.
We will not be pressured by the governor or the state board of education when it comes to the safety and health of our students. “We have a constitutional duty to protect our students,” said Lucia Baez Geller, Miami-Dade School Board Member.
In Tallahassee on Wednesday, a three-day hearing between pro-Mask parents against the DeSantis administration and state education officials concluded with a ruling from a judge expected soon.
Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, a Stanford University medical professor and researcher who also supports the governor’s approach, said he usually only disguises when it’s needed, or to make others feel comfortable — not because he thinks they prevent exposure to coronavirus.
“I don’t think there is high-quality evidence that masks are effective in stopping the spread of disease,” he testified on Wednesday.
Asked about the acceptable infant mortality rate to justify continuing the strict ban on masks, Bacharia said it was an incorrect way to measure the outcome. “I don’t think it’s right to say what deaths are acceptable. Compared to what? It’s a matter of trade-offs,” he said.
The highly contagious delta variant has accelerated cases across Florida and registered a large number of hospitalizations as schools prepare to reopen classes this month. By mid-August, more than 21,000 new cases were being added each day, compared to about 8,500 the previous month. However, new cases and hospitalizations have stabilized over the past week.
US Department of Health figures showed there were 16,820 people being treated for the disease in Florida hospitals on Tuesday, down from a record number of more than 17,000 people last week.
Six out of 10 Americans say students and teachers should wear face masks while in school, according to a survey by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.