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Florida School Board Warns Schools Against Enforcing Mask Requirements

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Florida School Board Warns Schools Against Enforcing Mask Requirements

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An urgent meeting was convened by officials from the Florida State Board of Education on Tuesday, focusing once more on the use of facial coverings in public educational institutions. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has consistently supported his ongoing prohibition of all mask mandates in public schools, despite the escalating number of COVID-19 cases in the state, including within the school premises.

With the objective of ensuring the safety of students and staff, various school districts like Alachua and Broward counties have enforced mask requirements in defiance of DeSantis’ directive. To penalize these districts for going against the Governor’s orders, the Board of Education has empowered the state education commissioner, Richard Corcoran, to “pursue all lawful measures.” The specifics of the penalties are yet to be finalized, but the board members have put forward various ideas, such as withholding funding and salaries, dismissing security personnel, and carrying out comprehensive reviews of the schools’ internal regulations.

As per Corcoran, these sanctions are under consideration to “safeguard the freedom of parents to decide whether their children should wear masks.”

Some other school districts in Florida have found ways to circumvent DeSantis’ prohibition by implementing mask mandates but permitting parents to opt out by submitting a waiver form. Hillsborough County employed this strategy, although they had to advise students and staff to undergo home quarantine after more than 1,000 individuals in Florida tested positive for COVID-19 in recent weeks.

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