4 teachers died of COVID within 24 hours in Broward County, Florida. Schools there are defying Gov. DeSantis’ ban on mask mandates.

Ron DeSantis

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at a press conference at LifeScience Logistics to urge the Biden administration to approve Florida’s plan to import prescription drugs from Canada, thereby saving Floridians an estimated $100 million annually on drug costs. Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

  • Four teachers from Broward County, Florida died from COVID-19 on Tuesday and Wednesday.

  • One was a high school teacher while another taught elementary school. A teaching assistant and the fourth teacher were from the same school.

  • The deaths come even as Broward County’s school board voted to defy a ban on mask mandates on school premises.

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Three teachers and a teaching assistant from Broward County, Florida, have died from COVID-19 within a span of 24 hours, the Broward Teachers’ Union told NBC Miami on Thursday.

Out of the four deceased, three were not vaccinated, but one was set to get the vaccine, said Union president Anna Fusco, per NBC Miami. All four were on summer break when they caught the virus and died just as the school year was about to begin, she added.

One was a high school teacher and another taught in elementary school, while the teaching assistant and remaining teacher were from the same school, Fusco also said to CBS Miami. “It’s extremely frightening. I hear this every day. Whether in Broward or elsewhere. We’re the 5th largest union in the country,” said Fusco.

She told NBC Miami: “It really hits because we’ve been in this conversation about masking up in schools; our own elected governor acting like masks are not necessary.”

Earlier this week, the Broward County Public Schools board defied Governor Ron DeSantis’ ban on mask mandates. They voted 8-1 to require staff and students to wear face coverings amid a record-breaking spike in the states’ coronavirus cases.

“Bring it,” said board member Nora Rupert, after Gov. DeSantis threatened to withhold paychecks of school officials who made masks mandatory.

A spokesperson for DeSantis previously told Insider’s Connor Perret that Gov. DeSantis wanted to protect parents’ rights to choose if their kids should wear masks.

Marion County Public Schools in Marion County, Florida, which is four hours north of Broward, reported on Friday that four members of its teaching staff had also died from COVID over the summer.

In July, Gov. Ron DeSantis issued an executive order banning mask mandates for Florida public schools, despite rising cases among children in the state. Earlier this week, more than 800 Florida physicians signed an open letter to DeSantis urging him to revise his policy.

“This past week, COVID-19 has infected more than 19,000 Floridians every day, the worst weekly infection rate since the pandemic began, and hospitalized an average of 1,800 Floridians daily,” the letter said. “In the last week of July, at least 35 children were hospitalized every day for COVID-19 in Florida, a number that is very likely an undercount since Gov. DeSantis stopped sharing COVID-19 statistics.”

Rather than issue mask mandates, DeSantis has rolled out a program to provide Regeneron monoclonal antibodies through clinics – the same treatment former President Trump received when he tested positive for COVID.

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