The Florida Department of Education has fulfilled its promise to punish school district that have enacted mask mandates. Two districts will be given 48 hours to reverse their orders, or else funding will be pulled equal to the salaries of those school board members who voted for masks to protect students and staff from the coronavirus.
Anthony Sacco leaves Angelina, left, and Victoria, right, at Fox Trail Elementary School in Davie, Florida on the first day... [+] on October 9, 2020. ASSOCIATED PRESS
The Key Facts
As a "first step", the Department of Education stated that it would reduce funding to Broward County, south Florida, and Alachua County, north-central Florida on a monthly basis equal to the salaries of the board members who voted to implement the mandates. However, the Department of Education could "impose additional sanctions or take additional enforcement actions" against schools that maintain mandates. Governor's order is directly violated by the local mandates. Ron DeSantis (R), declared all state school districts "mask-optional." The state Board of Education unanimously voted Tuesday to impose sanctions against local districts that do not comply with the governor’s orders. This week, mask mandates were also approved by Hillsborough, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties.
Richard Corcoran, Florida Education Commissioner, stated in a statement that "government officials cannot pick and choose which laws they wish to follow." This is unacceptable behavior.
According to a New York Times tracker, Florida leads the nation in new Covid-19 case reports with nearly 24,000 per day. While the state's new cases, hospitalizations, and deaths are at an all-time high, DeSantis' anti-restrictions views remain unchanged. The governor is actually becoming more strict in his opposition to restrictions through actions such as banning masks from schools. Districts who have defied the governor's orders claim that these mandates are necessary in order to protect the state's children from the coronavirus delta variant. This variant is spreading at a faster rate than the previous variants. According to the CDC the state is the most populous in terms of Covid-19-infected children. There were an average 54 new hospitalizations per day over the past week.
The Florida State Board of Education approved earlier this month a rule that allows students who are victims of "COVID-19 harassment", to access scholarship funds to cover tuition costs if they transfer to private schools. The Hope Scholarship was created originally to give victims of bullying the opportunity to transfer. The scholarship now includes "COVID-19 harassment", which is when someone is asked to wear a mask, socially distance or physically attack.
Floridas DeSantis Signing Order To Block Mask Mandates In Schools (Forbes)
Florida may cover tuition for students who are allegedly bullied because they don't wear masks (Forbes).
Three more Florida school districts impose a mask mandate after state sanctions two (Forbes).
Alabama sets a new record for children hospitalized with covid (Forbes).
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