Last Tuesday, the Florida Board of Education voted to sanction two public school districts for defying Governor Ron DeSantis.The two districts, Alachua and Broward counties, will face penalties to be decided on by the board.
Board Of Education Punishes Alachua and Broward School Districts
The recent action by the Florida Board of Education marked the first sanctions issued against districts that issued mask mandates. Florida is in the midst of a surge in COVID cases. As the school year opens, many schools want to impose compulsory mask-wearing to help prevent the spread.
However, the DeSantis administration contends that the Alachua and Broward county public school districts did not give parents the chance to decide. In fact, parents could not freely opt-out of our rules requiring their children to not wear masks. Instead, both school boards required doctor’s notes for students to get exemptions.
Defending the Mask Mandate
Local school officials defended their decision to impose a mask mandate for their students. During the two-hour meeting, they said that requiring everybody to wear masks remains the best way to limit the spread of COVID-19. This is especially since most students cannot yet avail of vaccines. The cutoff age for vaccines is 12.
Meanwhile, Carlee Simon, superintendent of the Alachua County Public Schools, talked about the effects of not having a mask mandate. She said many students in her district had to quarantine just days into the school year.
They immediately got infected with COVID-positive students. At one point in the meeting, several people took issue with the state’s handling of mask policies. However, others expressed outrage over new mandates.
Florida is a Crisis Point For COVID-19
COVID-19 is currently raging in Florida. The delta variant hit the state hard, registering more than 3 million new cases and caused the deaths of 41,000 people as of Tuesday.
Despite the unchecked spread of the virus, Governor DeSantis insisted on signing laws that forbade mask mandates. However, many school districts chose to defy DeSantis and issue rules wearing masks.
This led to DeSantis threatening the withholding of funding from districts that defied him. The state threatened to withhold salaries of superintendents and board of education members.
However, DeSantis, whose supporters want to run as a possible Republican presidential contender in 2024, is taking a hard approach to mask mandates. He is one of the few governors who opposed mask mandates and vaccine passports.
He also threatened fines and legal action against businesses that discriminate against customers who have yet to get vaccines or insist on wearing masks.
Should Students Wear Masks In Schools?
Meanwhile in Florida, Arizona, and six other states, officials remain steadfast in upholding and promoting their bans for mask mandates. However, recent polls show that many Americans are now supporting students wearing masks during school hours. This includes a good number of Republicans.
Watch the News4JAX video reporting that the Florida Board of Education votes to investigate Alachua school district, superintendent for mask mandate:
Do you prefer school children to wear masks in schools? Or, do you support DeSantis in wanting parental decisions on whether students should wear masks or not?
Tell us what you think about mask mandates in schools. Share your thoughts in the comments section below.