A South Florida school district is digging in its heels after Gov. Ron DeSantis threatened to defund school boards that implement mask mandates for students, arguing that the spread of the delta variant necessitates strict protocols.
The Broward County School Board did not back down on its position that masks will be mandatory for students, voting 8-1 on Tuesday to retain its mandate when school begins later this month. DeSantis signed an executive order on July 30 making face masks optional across the state in a bid to prevent enforced requirements.
“I have a moral responsibility to be my brother and sister’s keepers, even if it means that my salary is taken away,” Broward School Board Chairwoman Rosalind Osgood said. “Even if it means I’m no longer in this seat, my conscience will be at peace because I can sleep at night knowing that I didn’t put parochial self-interest before people.”
FLORIDA SCHOOL OFFICIALS COULD LOSE SALARIES OVER MASK MANDATES
Richard Corcoran, the commissioner of the Department of Education for Florida, wrote a letter to school board officials, issuing an investigation into the matter and demanding a written response from school officials by Friday at 5 p.m. before “the maximum accountability measures provided for under the law will be imposed.”
“The action taken today at the Broward County School Board meeting makes it clear that you have no current intentions of complying with this order,” Corcoran wrote Tuesday. “There is no room for error or leniency when it comes to ensuring compliance with policies that allow parents and guardians to make health and educational choices for their children.”
On Tuesday, the Republican governor of Florida dismissed concerns that the coronavirus pandemic is a serious threat to children.
“Now there’s an attempt to say the delta variant has changed a lot with respect to kids,” DeSantis said during a press conference in Surfside. “Here’s what I can tell you: If you look throughout the entire pandemic, between 1.1-1.4% of COVID-positive patients in Florida hospitals have been pediatrics. And right now, it’s 1.3%, so you have not seen a change in the proportion of the young people who end up being admitted.”
More Florida children were hospitalized with COVID-19 on Aug. 3 than any state other than Texas, according to the United States Department of Health and Human Services. There are 135 children among the 15,000 coronavirus patients now in state hospitals, the department added.
Republican Florida Sen. Marco Rubio expressed concern about those numbers Tuesday.
“Unlike the first wave of COVID, we are seeing children in hospitals and even in intensive care. And that’s something we didn’t see the first time around. Now look, those are facts based on what we know about COVID right now,” he said. “In America, you are free to decide what you want to do with that information. I personally think it makes sense to get vaccinated.”
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The Washington Examiner contacted representatives for DeSantis and Broward County Public Schools but did not immediately receive responses.
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Tags: News, Florida, Ron DeSantis, Face masks, Coronavirus, Education, Health
Original Author: Kaelan Deese
Original Location: DeSantis’s anti-mask mandate met with defiance in South Florida school district